Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney joined the “Me Too” movement and opened up about being sexually abused for years by Larry Nassar, the doctor for the U.S. Women’s National Gymnastics team.
The gymnast shared her own story to show that sexual abuse and harassment is not only a Hollywood problem. “People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood. This is happening everywhere,” she wrote. “Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse.”
— mckayla (@McKaylaMaroney) October 18, 2017
“Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving ‘medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.’ It started when I was 13 years old, at one of my first National Team training camps, in Texas, and it didn’t end until I left the sport,” Maroney wrote. “It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated.”
Nassar is currently facing 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct from 125 women and he has already pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges in July. Nassar also faces sexual assault charges in state court in Michigan.
The former Olympian detailed one particularly terrifying moment with Nassar. “For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old,” she wrote. “I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo. He’d given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a ‘treatment.’ I thought I was going to die that night.”
Maroney became a beloved viral sensation at the Olympics, thanks to a photo that showed her being “not impressed” after coming in second place and winning the silver medal. The alleged abuse that she suffered occurred during the sports event.
In an official statement, USA Gymnastics praised Maroney for speaking out about the alleged abuse. “USA Gymnastics admires the courage of those, like McKayla Maroney, who have come forward to share their personal experiences with sexual abuse. Because of their strength in coming forward, predators can be held accountable for their actions. We, like so many others, are outraged and disgusted by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused,” the organization said. “We are sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career.”