- Two-time Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney says sexual abuse she endured at the hands of a former USA Gymnastics team doctor nearly drove her to suicide
- Maroney and her mother wrote letters to the federal judge presiding over the trial of Larry Nassar, who spent three decades working for USA Gymnastics
- Last month, Nassar confessed to sexually penetrating multiple young girls who were as young as 10 during a court hearing in Michigan
- As part of his plea deal, Nassar will now face at least 25 years in prison after initially being charged with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct
By Dailymail.com Reporter
Published: 18:58 EST, 6 December 2017 | Updated: 20:48 EST, 6 December 2017
Two-time Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney says that the years-long sexual abuse she endured at the hands of a former USA Gymnastics team doctor nearly drove her to suicide, it was revealed on Wednesday.
Maroney and her mother wrote letters to the federal judge presiding over the trial of Larry Nassar, who spent three decades working with athletes at USA Gymnastics, ESPN reported on Wednesday.
Last month, Nassar confessed to sexually penetrating multiple young girls who were as young as 10 during a court hearing in Michigan.
Two-time Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney (seen above in 2011) says that the years-long sexual abuse she endured at the hands of a former USA Gymnastics team doctor nearly drove her to suicide, it was revealed on Wednesday
Maroney and her mother wrote letters to the federal judge presiding over the trial of Larry Nassar, who spent three decades working with athletes at USA Gymnastics. Nassar is seen above tending to Maroney during competition in this undated file photo
Last month, Nassar confessed to sexually penetrating multiple young girls who were as young as 10 during a court hearing in Michigan
As part of his plea deal, Nassar will now face at least 25 years in prison after initially being charged with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County Circuit Court, acknowledging that he sexually penetrated the young women and that they were not old enough to give consent.
He then pleaded guilty to additional counts of criminal sexual conduct for assaulting girls under the guise of medical treatment.
Nassar, 54, appeared in Michigan's Eaton County Circuit Court and pleaded guilty to three felony counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct.
He did not make a statement beyond briefly answering the judge's questions.
Initially, McKayla had planned to appear in court on Thursday to deliver a victim-impact statement during the sentencing phase of Nassar's trial.
McKayla and her mother want the judge to impose the harshest sentence prescribed by the law.
Initially, McKayla had planned to appear in court on Thursday to deliver a victim-impact statement during the sentencing phase of Nassar's trial
McKayla and her mother want the judge to impose the harshest sentence prescribed by the law
McKayla Maroney, 21, said Nassar molested her from the age of 13 until she left gymnastics last year. Nassar is pictured above in the back row with his face circled. McKayla is seen in the first row with her face circled
McKayla's mother wrote in a letter to the judge that her daughter was left 'shattered' by the abuse she endured at Nassar's hands
'She has transformed from a bubbly, positive, loving, world class athlete into a young adult who was deeply depressed, at times suicidal,' Erin Maroney wrote. McKayla is seen above (center) after winning the gold medal at the World Championships in Tokyo in 2011
'At times, I was unsure whether I would open her bedroom door and find her dead,' Erin Maroney wrote of her daughter
The judge in the case ruled last week that there would be no victim-impact statements read out loud in court. Instead, she will read them privately.
'This experience has shattered McKayla,' Erin Maroney wrote in the letter to the judge.
'She has transformed from a bubbly, positive, loving, world class athlete into a young adult who was deeply depressed, at times suicidal.
'At times, I was unsure whether I would open her bedroom door and find her dead.'
McKayla Maroney, 21, said Nassar molested her from the age of 13 until she left gymnastics last year.
She said the abuse happened at many high-profile competitions, including the 2012 London Olympic Games where she won gold and silver medals.
She opened up about the experiences in a tweet inspired by the 'Me Too' movement, which encouraged women to identify themselves as victims of sexual harassment or assault following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
'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,' McKayla Maroney wrote in her letter to the court.
McKayla revealed the abuse in a Twitter post from October 18. The post was her response to the #MeToo campaign in which women came forward to detail the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of men in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations
McKayla Maroney says the abuse took place at the famed Karolyi Ranch, which served as the national training center for USA Gymnastics.
It was run by former Team USA coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi.
'Because the national team training camps did not allow parents to be present, my mom and dad were unable to observe what Nassar was doing.'
Erin Maroney wrote that she and her husband 'were not allowed to stay with McKayla' when the gymnastics team traveled abroad and that 'sometimes we were not even in the same hotel.'
'We were never allowed to the US Olympic Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch nor any other training facility,' Erin Maroney wrote.
'My husband once questioned the propriety of the isolation of the girls during international travel.
'He was assured by [former USA Gymnastics president] Steve Penny that the girls were safe at all times.
'"More safe than the President of the USA," he said to him. We now know that this was a lie.'
In 2011, '[Nassar] drugged her, made her lay nude on a treatment table, straddled her and digitally penetrated her while rubbing his erect penis against her,' Erin Maroney wrote
'She was only 15 years old. She said to me, "Mom I thought I was going to die",' Erin Maroney wrote
McKayla Maroney also describes the incident in her letter to the judge. '[Nassar] had 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 treatment,' the Olympic champion writes
Penny resigned in March due to mounting criticism over USA Gymnastics' handling of the allegations against Nassar.
Erin Maroney describes in graphic detail how Nassar drugged her daughter and penetrated her sexually.
'I ... learned a few weeks ago from my daughter that at the world championships in Tokyo, [Nassar] drugged her, made her lay nude on a treatment table, straddled her and digitally penetrated her while rubbing his erect penis against her,' Erin Maroney wrote.
'She was only 15 years old. She said to me, "Mom I thought I was going to die".
'I cannot tell you the anguish her Dad and I feel and the responsibility we feel for not being aware of this or being able to stop it.'
McKayla Maroney also describes the incident in her letter to the judge.
'[Nassar] had 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 treatment,' the Olympic champion writes.
Maroney (center) was part of the 'Fierce Five' - the nickname given to the US artistic gymnastics team that captured the gold medal in the London Olympic Games in 2012. She is seen above with, from left to right, Jordyn Wieber; Gabby Douglas; Ali Raisman; and Kyla Ross
Raisman, a three-times gold medalist, revealed in an interview with CBS News program 60 Minutes that Nassar abused her
Douglas, who is also a three-time gold medal winner, also said that she was one of Nassar's victims
McKayla and several other gymnasts have described similar instances in which Nassar would take them into rooms under the guise of treatment - even though USA Gymnastics rules prohibit adults from ever being alone in a room with minors.
The instances of abuse took place at the Karolyi Ranch, in hotels during international competitions, and at athletes dorms during the Olympics.
'It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my silver medal [at the 2012 London Olympics],' McKayla Maroney wrote.
McKayla and her mother both criticized Nassar and the institutions that they say enabled him - USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee, and Michigan State, which employed Nassar full time as a trainer.
'Our daughter was totally failed by USA Gymnastics, by Michigan State University and by the US Olympic Committee,' Erin Maroney wrote.
'No one from the USOC has ever reached out to me or my husband or my daughter to inquire about her well being. Not once. No one has apologized.
'After McKayla spoke with an investigator with USA Gymnastics in July 2015, USA Gymnastics and the USOC kept the knowledge of [Nassar's] status as a child molester secret from Michigan State University after 2015 and even said nothing when he ran for school board in his local school district!"
In court last month, Nassar admitted that he digitally penetrated three girls and told them it was part of their medical treatment.
One girl was younger than 13 and two were between the ages of 13 and 15 when the assaults occurred between 2009 and 2011.
Nassar was the team physician for the Michigan State University gymnastics and women's crew teams, as well as an associate professor at MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine.
He served as the USA Gymnastics physician through four Olympic Games.
The guilty pleas last month put an end to criminal sexual conduct charges brought by the Michigan Attorney General's office against Nassar in Eaton and Ingham counties.
The Eaton County sentencing hearing will be held on January 31.
The Ingham County sentencing hearing will be held on January 12 when all of the 125 reported victims or their parents will be allowed to give victim impact statements.
He also faces child pornography charges and will be sentenced for those alleged crimes on December 7.
A plea deal with prosecutors calls for a minimum prison sentence of 25 years but the judge could set the minimum as high as 40 years.
Nassar's plea deal follows claims by two of the United States' most decorated gymnasts, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, that they had been sexually abused by the former USA Gymnastics team doctor.
Three-times Olympic gold medalist Douglas said she was sexually abused by Nassar while Raisman, also a three-times gold medalist, made similar allegations in an interview with CBS News program 60 Minutes.
During the November 22 hearing, Nassar apologized and said it was time for his victims to begin healing, The Detroit News reported.
LARRY NASSAR'S VICTIMS
Victim A disclosed that she was 10 years old the first time she was sexually assaulted by Nassar. At Twistars, Nassar would come on Monday nights to treat the gymnasts. Nassar would use the back room at the gym to work. This particular Monday, Victim A signed up to see Nassar. Nassar was to readjust her ribs. While pressing on her back, Nassar pulled her leotard up and touched her vagina. Victim A stated Nassar’s bare hand and fingers went “in between the flaps” of her vagina. Victim A stated she felt “grossed out”. Nassar did not wear gloves, did not tell her he would be vaginally penetrating her nor did he obtain consent from either Victim A or Victim A’s parents.
Victim B stated her mother would sit in front of her. Nassar would massage her buttocks, hamstrings, and IT bands. As Nassar massaged Victim B, he would put his fingers in her vagina and thumb in her anus. Victim B stated that one time, he “wiggled” his finger in her vagina. Nassar would penetrate her vagina and anus during the entire appointment, which was about a half hour. Victim B was under the age of 13 at the time of each of these assaults.
Victim C was 15 years old when she was treated by Nassar. Victim C’s first appointment with Nassar was on February 2, 2000. Nassar evaluated Victim C. Nassar told her that her back muscles were not “firing properly”, causing extra back pressure. Nassar suggested myofascial release and osteopathic sports massage. While she was standing, Nassar inserted two fingers into her vagina. Victim C reported she was aware of inter-vaginal treatment, but didn’t know what it looked like. Nassar did not wear gloves and did not obtain consent from Victim C or her mother
Victim D stated Nassar massaged her vagina underneath her underwear and put his hand inside her vagina. Nassar did not use gloves or lubricant. Victim D and her mother were never told by Nassar that he would be vaginally penetrating her nor did they consent
Victim E stated that Nassar told he was performing myofascial release on her. During the procedure, Nassar went underneath the shorts and her underwear and penetrated her vagina. Nassar moved his fingers inside her vagina for more than ten minutes. He was not wearing any gloves. Neither Victim E nor her parents were told by Nassar that he would penetrate Victim E’s vagina and they did not consent.
Victim F stated that when her mother was in the room, Nassar covered her with a sheet. If her mother stood up to see what was happening, Nassar stopped penetrating her. Victim F stated that the penetration became more aggressive and invasive over time. During her appointments, she would grit her teeth to prevent from yelping in pain. Nassar would anally and vaginally penetrate her for approximately 45 minutes. Nassar would also touch her breasts. Victim F stated that at times, Nassar would have one hand in her vagina with the other on her breast
Victim G reported she saw Nassar weekly. Victim G stated she was vaginally penetrated during most of these appointments. Victim G stated she would take off her t-shirt and Nassar would pull down her shorts and underwear. Nassar would then vaginally penetrate her.
Source: Affidavit in Support of Complaint filed on February 21, 2017