US gymnast Maroney reveals abuse by team doctor
Olympic gold medal-winning US gymnast McKayla Maroney, inspired by the 'Me Too' movement, revealed on Wednesday that she was molested for years by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
Maroney, 21, said in a statement on Twitter that Nassar, who is facing trial on more than 20 counts of sexual assault, began molesting her at the age of 13 and it continued throughout her gymnastics career.
"Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving 'medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years,'" Maroney wrote. "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. It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was 'treated,'" she said.
She posted her statement with the MeToo hashtag, the campaign encouraging women to denounce experiences of sexual abuse that has swept across social media in the wake of the wave of allegations targeting Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
"Everyone's words over the past few days have been so inspiring to me," Maroney said in the statement on her Twitter account @McKaylaMaroney. "I know how hard it is to speak publicly about something so horrible, and so personal, because it's happened to me too," she said.
Nassar was involved with USA Gymnastics for nearly three decades and worked with the country's gymnasts at four separate Olympic Games.His case was part of a wide-ranging scandal which forced the resignation of USA Gymnastics chief Steve Penny last year. Penny was accused by victims of failing to quickly notify authorities about abuse allegations. More than 350 gymnasts were reportedly abused according to an investigation by the Indianapolis Star.
In a statement, USA Gymnastics praised the "courage" of Maroney and others "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."