In July, former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to a number of child pornography charges. In the wake of the court case, Olympic medal winner McKayla Maroney spoke out against her sport’s governing body, and the team for the way they handled the years of abuse that many athletes faced at the hands of Nassar.
With teammate Aly Raisman also coming forward to accuse Nassar of assaulting her, followed by Gabby Douglas, who had previously upset her teammates with a poorly worded comment about assault and its victims, it is clear that Nassar’s years as the team’s doctor were disastrous for many young women in the sport. Over 130 young gymnasts have come forward to accuse the doctor of assault; he has pled guilty to seven of those charges and could face 25 years in jail, on top of the potential life sentence he may receive for the charges from July.
“I’m so sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire, out of control,” Nassar said in his plea. “I want them [the victims] to heal. I want this community to heal. I have no animosity toward anyone. I just want healing. It’s time.”
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina admonished the former doctor, telling him, “You used that position of trust that you had in the most vile way — to abuse children. You violated the oath that you took [the Hippocratic oath], which is to do no harm, and you harmed them. Selfishly.”
While the case against Nassar uncovered a decades-long sex abuse scandal within USA Gymnastics, the former president of the organization was orced to step down this year. Steve Penny resigned as CEO of the organization after 70 athletes sued both USA Gymnastics and Nassar for various assaults over his years as the volunteer doctor in charge of health and wellness for the organization.
Nassar will be sentenced in January 2018.
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(Photo via Alex Livesey/Getty)