Gymnast Maggie Nichols claims she’s the first of more than 100 alleged victims to alert USA Gymnastics about Dr. Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse accusations.
Nichols identified herself as “Athlete A” in the case against Nassar and said the doctor molested her at the Larolyi Ranch Olympic training camp in Texas when she was 15.
Nassar, who has been sued by at least 125 girls and women, admitted to sexually assaulting gymnasts, possessing child pornography and molesting girls who sought medical treatment.
In an open letter released Tuesday, the 20-year-old announced she would be joining her former teammates Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas in speaking out against the doctor.
This file photo taken on November 22, 2017 shows former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar appearing at Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing, Michigan.
(JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
“Up until now, I was identified as ‘Athlete A’ by USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University. I want everyone to know that he did not do this to ‘Athlete A’, he did it to Maggie Nichols,” she wrote.
Nichols was experiencing back pain when Nassar began molesting her, the gymnast wrote.
“I trusted what he was doing at first, but then he started touching me in places I really didn’t think he should… I accepted what he was doing because I was told by adults that he was the best doctor and he could help relieve my pain,” Nichols said.
She also claimed the sports doctor messaged her on Facebook to compliment her looks. “But I was only 15 and I just thought he was trying to be nice to me. Now I believe this was part of the grooming process I recently learned about,” Nichols wrote.
A coach overheard her talking about Nassar’s behavior, and she sparked an investigation when she reported the abuse to USA Gymastics in the summer of 2015, according to the New York Times.
Nichols also accused Michigan State University of ignoring complaints about Nassar while she said USA Gymnastics and the USOC failed to provide a safe environment for her and her teammates.
Olympic gymnasts Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney attend the 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 22, 2012 in New York City.
“His job was to care for our health and treat our injuries. Instead, he violated our innocence,” she wrote.
Nassar, who pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct, is scheduled for sentencing next week. He was sentenced in December to 60 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography.
With News Wire Services
Source: Ny Daily News