After being accused of sexual abuse by several members of the U.S. Olympic team, Dr. Larry Nassar has been sentenced to 60 years in prison. However, his time behind bars will be served not because of his inappropriate behavior with female athletes, including several members of the Fierce Five, but as a result of child porn charges.
According to TMZ, the doctor had over 34,000 child porn images in his possession, which were found while investigating the sexault assault claims against him. McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman are just two of over 100 female athletes who claimed that they were abused by the former U.S. Women’s National Gymnastics team and Olympic team doctor. In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, Aly revealed she was angry about the “culture” that perpetuates these predators.
“Why are we looking at why didn’t the girls speak up?” the 23-year-old athlete on Sunday’s episode. “Why not look at what about the culture? What did USA Gymnastics do, and Larry Nassar do, to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up?”
She continued, “I’m really upset because it’s been — I care a lot, you know, when I see these young girls that come up to me, and they ask for pictures or autographs, whatever it is… I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this.”
While Aly did not go into much detail about the abuse in the interview, she opened up even more about the painful experience in her new book Fierce. Inside, she revealed that the abuse started when she was 15 years old. “When I lay on my stomach to have my hamstrings worked on, towels were draped over my hips and buttocks for privacy and to ensure there was no inappropriate skin-to-skin contact,” she wrote of her experience with other doctors. “They never, ever crossed any lines in where they massaged and there was never a moment when their methods made me uncomfortable.”
She continued, “It was different with Larry. I would lie on the table, my hands involuntarily balling themselves into fists as his ungloved hands worked their way under my clothing. ‘Treatment sessions’ with him always made me feel tense and uncomfortable.”
Fellow gymnast McKayla shared a similar story on Twitter on Wednesday, Oct. 18, to participate in the ever-growing #MeToo social media campaign. In a lengthy letter to her fans, she claimed that she was also sexually abused for years by Dr. Nassar.
“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.” The 21-year-old continued,” 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. It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated.’”
ESPN reported that Dr. Nassar is currently facing 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct from 125 women. For those charges, he will be sentenced in January.
In a deeply personal letter, McKayla recounted a particularly traumatic alleged incident with the disgraced medical professional and revealed that she once feared for her life. “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.”
At the end of her post, McKayla encouraged sexual abuse victims to speak out and stand up for themselves. “Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it’s time to take our power back,” she wrote. “And remember, it’s never too late to speak up.”