Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman has accused Larry Nassar of sexual abuse, joining more than 100 female gymnasts who said they have also been sexually assaulted by the former U.S. national gymnastics team doctor.
Raisman, 23, is the second member of the 2012 Olympic gold medal team to present allegations against Nassar, who spent nearly 30 years as an osteopath with the USA Gymnastics program. McKayla Maroney said last month that she was molested by Nassar for several years, beginning when she was 13.
Raisman confirmed her abuse in an interview with “60 Minutes” that is slated to air Sunday night, saying she was first treated by Nassar at age 15. The six-time Olympic medalist also details her experiences in her book, “Fierce,” which will be released next week.
“I am angry. I’m really upset,” Raisman told “60 Minutes.” “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.”
Raisman blasted Nassar as a “monster” earlier this summer, when the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team physician pleaded guilty to three federal child pornography charges in July.
Nassar, 53, is currently in jail awaiting sentencing in Michigan as he prepares for trial in December over charges that he sexually assaulted nine girls.
Nassar is also being sued by more than 130 women or girls who allege in civil lawsuits that he abused them under the guise of medical treatment. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Raisman initially called for sweeping change in USA Gymnastics in August, blaming the program for fostering an environment in which none of the athletes felt they could speak up.
She made similar pleas in her interview with “60 Minutes.”
“Why are we looking at why didn’t the girls speak up?” Raisman said. “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?”
On the eve of the Rio Olympics August 2016, The Indianapolis Star reported that USA Gymnastics routinely dismissed sexual abuse complaints as hearsay unless they came from either a victim or a victim’s parent.
In a statement to “60 Minutes,” the organization said it has since updated its policies, requiring “mandatory reporting” if sexual abuse is suspected.
“USA Gymnastics is very sorry that any athlete has been harmed,” the program said. “We want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe.”
The organization voiced additional support for Raisman and other athletes in a subsequent statement on Friday.
“Aly Raisman’s achievements have made her one of our country’s most decorated gymnasts, and her dedication and determination to succeed have inspired fans around the world,” the program said. “In the last year, Aly has become an advocate for many issues, and sharing her personal experience of abuse takes great courage. We are appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nasser is accused, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career.
“Aly’s passion and concern for athlete safety is shared by USA Gymnastics. Our athletes are our priority, and we are committed to promoting an environment of empowerment that encourages speaking up, especially on difficult topics like abuse, as well (sic) the protection of athletes at all levels throughout our gymnastics community.”
Raisman had previously declined to detail her interactions with Nassar publicly, but told “60 Minutes” that she spoke to FBI investigators about him after competing in Rio, where she won a second team gold as well as silver medals in the all-around and floor exercise.
Nassar was fired by USA Gymnastics in the summer of 2015, but the program waited five weeks before alerting the FBI following an internal review.
This week, the organization named Kerry J. Perry as its new president and CEO, succeeding Steve Perry, who resigned in March amid the sexual assault scandal.
Send a Letter to the Editor