United States Olympic gymnasts are the pride of the country, but many of these young women have had to endure sexual harassment at the hands of team doctor, Larry Nassar. More than 140 women athletes have alleged abuse by Nassar, including some of the top gymnasts of recent Olympic Games. Many have said the governing body of USA Gymnastics pressured them to keep quiet about their accusations. Now, however, the silence is broken.
Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct, but the number of his victims may range into the hundreds. At his sentencing hearing in mid-January in Michigan State Court, at least 100 of his victims were expected to speak. Nassar, 54, is facing a minimum of 25 years in prison as part of his plea deal, and 60 years in prison for child pornography.
At the hearing, many women spoke for the first time. They told the judge and courtroom what Nassar had done to them and how they were affected, along with wider repercussions among family, friends, and coaches. One victim told the court that Nassar first began molesting her when she was just six years old. When she told her parents years later, Nassar denied everything, and her parents believed him. One mother, whose daughter committed suicide several years ago, said her aspiring gymnastic daughter quit the sport after Nassar abused her, and her life spiraled downward into drugs and psychological issues.
Claims of USA Gymnastics Being Complicit
The Olympic victims and other serious competitors accuse USA Gymnastics of being complicit in Nassar’s crimes. McKayla Maroney, a member of the gold winning team at the 2012 Olympics, claims in a lawsuit that USA Gymnastics gave her money to keep silent about Nassar’s abuse. Simone Biles, a member of the 2016 Olympic gymnastics team, wrote online that she was a survivor of Nassar’s abuse, and had asked herself whether she was at fault, a common thought among sexual harassment victims. Writing about her love of the sport, Biles states that she will not let one man steal her joy and spirit.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Victims of Sexual MisconductIf you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, the experienced Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold Associates, P.C. can help. We fight aggressively for your rights and help you obtain the justice you deserve. Contact us online or call 215-569-1999 for a free consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients from the surrounding areas.