Nearly 90 Sexual Abuse Victims Of Former USA Gymnastics Doctor Speak Out
Nearly 90 women who allege that they were sexually assaulted by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar (54) plan to speak out about the abuse during a four-day sentencing hearing that started on Tuesday.
Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan to several first-degree sexual assault charges.
Nassar is accused of sexually abusing more than 140 women and girls whilst serving as the gymnastics team doctor for Team USA and Michigan State University.
Many of the victims cried as they gave their testimonies on Tuesday with some requesting that their identities not be made public. The judge consoled the victims and told them not to blame themselves.
One of the victims, Kyle Stephens said to Nassar: “I testified to let the world know that you are a repulsive liar,”. Stephens claimed that Nassar repeatedly abused her from the time she was 6 till the age of 12 when she made family visits to his home in Holt, near Lansing.
She said that he rubbed his genitals on her and penetrated her and that he denied it and convinced her parents she was lying. Stephens’ said when her Dad realized years later she was speaking the truth, he killed himself.
“Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don’t stay little forever,” Stephens said. “They grow into strong women that … destroy your world.”
Donna Markham gave a statement and told of how her daughter Chelsey killed herself in 2009, years after Nassar sexually abused her during a medical examination.
“It all started with him,” she said, describing her daughter’s downward spiral into drug abuse.
Victims described having feelings of shame and embarrassment after the assaults. They said that it changed their lives, affecting relationships, causing them to be distrustful and leading to depression, suicidal thoughts and anger and anxiety on whether they should have spoken out sooner.
On Monday, Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles added herself to the list of Nassar’s victims which includes gymnastics champions McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas.
Biles published a letter on Twitter writing:
“I, too, am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar. Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that i have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now that it is not my fault. …”
“For too long I’ve asked myself, ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answer to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others.”