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Culture > News

Former Olympic Gymnast McKayla Maroney Says That the Former Team Doctor Repeatedly Molested Her

Amidst Hollywood actresses and ordinary women coming forward with their experiences of being sexually harassed, former Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney has said that former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar repeatedly molested her, CNN reports. Nassar was arrested last year on the charge of sexually assaulting several female minors while serving in his position with USA Gymnastics. Maroney used the “Me Too” hashtag on Twitter to discuss her inappropriate encounters with Nassar over the years. 

“Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse,” Maroney, an individual silver medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics, wrote. “I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.” 

Maroney said that Nassar molested her under the excuse of giving her “medically necessary treatment.” “It started when I was 13 years old, at one of my first National Team training camps…and it didn’t end until I left the sport,” she said of the abuse. “It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated.’ It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my silver.”

The former athlete also singled out a experience in which she was only 15 and in Tokyo with the national gymnastics team and Nassar. “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.” 

Maroney’s accounts are another chilling reminder of how society has allowed for women to feel shamed into silence about being sexually harassed. The report also shows that this type of behavior certainly isn’t limited to the acting industry. 

“Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it’s time to take our power back,” Maroney said in her statement. “And remember, it’s never too late to speak up.”

The USA Gymnastics organization, which announced its requirement of members to report alleged sexual abuse after Nassar’s arrest, responded to Maroney’s tweet, saying it “admires the courage of those, like [Maroney], 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.”

Kristen Perrone is a Siena College Class of 2018 alumna. She studied English during her time at Siena.