McKayla Maroney is sitting down for her first television appearance since revealing that she was one of the many victims of pedophile gymnast Larry Nassar.
In an interview with Savannah Guthrie set to air Sunday night on Dateline, Maroney says that she was molested hundreds of times by Nassar beginning when she was just 13.
She also says that Nassar sexually assaulted her every time she sought treatment from the disgraced doctor.
Maroney was in New York City to appear at The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s seventh annual luncheon, where she also spoke about the abuse.
‘I at times question if my gymnastics career was really even worth it because of the stuff I’m dealing with now, because sometimes you’re just left in the dust,’ said Maroney.
‘You have to pick up the pieces of your life. That has been the hardest part for me, but it’s always three steps forward, two steps back.’
Speaking out: McKayla Maroney revealed in an interview that will air thus Sunday on Dateline that she was molested by Larry Nassar hundreds of times (Maroney on Dateline above)
Villain: She also said that Nassar sexually assaulted her during every single treatment she received starting when she was 13 (Maroney and Nassar above at the 2012 Games)
‘He told me he was going to do a check-up on me. That was the first day I was abused,’ said Maroney of Nassar in a preview of her Dateline interview that aired on Today.
The abuse was constant said Maroney, who later explained why she kept it a secret for so long.
‘He said that nobody would understand this, and the sacrifice it takes to get to the Olympics. You can’t tell people this,’ said Maroney.
‘And he didn’t say it in a way that was, like, mean or anything like that. I actually was like, that makes sense. I don’t want to tell anybody about this. And I didn’t believe that they would understand.’
She later added: ‘Doing what’s right is not always easy. But I need to speak up for the girls and for the future.’
The Gold-medal winning gymnast was not in attendance back in January for Nassar’s sentencing hearing, and so it fell to Angela Povilaitis from the district attorney’s office to deliver Maroney’s powerful words.
‘It all started when I was 13 or 14 years old, at one of my first National Team training camps, in Texas, and it didn’t end until I left the sport,’ wrote Maroney of her 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 Medal.’
The statement continued: ‘For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old. I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo. 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 also made a point of calling out those who let Nassar thrive for so long.
‘How could have Larry Nassar been allowed to assault so many women and girls for more than two decades?’ she asked.
‘The answer to that question lies in the failure of not one, but three major institutions to stop him — Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee.’
She went on to say that these organizations had the power to stop Nassar, but chose to do nothing.
‘A simple fact is this. If Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee had paid attention to any of the red flags in Larry Nassar’s behavior I never would have met him, I never would have been “treated” by him, and I never would have been abused by him,’ wrote Maroney.
Then, just like her Fierce Five teammate Aly Raisman did earlier this week, Maroney made it clear that she wanted to see some accountability from the doctor’s enablers.
‘It is time to hold the leadership of Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee accountable for allowing, and in some cases enabling, his crimes,’ said Maroney.
‘Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it’s time to take our power back.’
Victims: ‘I question if my gymnastics career was really worth it because of the stuff I’m dealing with now, because sometimes you’re just left in the dust,’ said Maroney (with fellow Nassar victims Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas and Ali Raismann)
Impact: Maroney, who won gold and silver at the 2012 London Games, was the first Olympian to come forward and reveal that she was molested by Nassar (Maroney’s impact statement being read in court in January)
There had been concern that she might not be able to share her statement without incurring a $100,000 fine as part of her 2016 settlement with USA Gymnastics which included a NDA that Maroney is now challenging in a lawsuit.
That all changed however thanks to massive public support for the gymnast after model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen posted a DailyMail.com headline on her Twitter account.
After reading that McKayla could be forced to pay USA Gymnastics for breaking her silence, Teigen said she would cover the expense for the sexual abuse victim.
That ultimately shamed the group into announcing its sudden change of heart.
‘USA Gymnastics has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar, nor for any victim impact statements she wants to make to Larry Nassar at this hearing or at any subsequent hearings related to his sentencing,’ the organization said in a statement .
‘This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them.’
Maroney, who was a member of the squad who took home Gold at the 2012 London Games, revealed in a lawsuit filed last month that she received $1.25 million from the organization in December 2016.
The two-time world-champion vaulter agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of the deal, which imposes a $100,000 fine should she ever speak about Nassar or the abuse she suffered at the heads of the disgraced doctor.
Maroney, who was represented by Gloria Allred when she accepted that settlement, said that she was in desperate need of the money due to her deteriorating psychological state and need for treatment as a result of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Nassar.
She said at one point she was even thought about taking her own life.
Maroney is now suing USA Gymnastics – with her legal team arguing that it was illegal for USA Gymnastics to make Maroney sign a clause demanding her silence about her molestation.
Over 100 women are set to deliver impact statements by the end of the sentencing hearing, which began Tuesday and will now likely run through next week.
Maroney is one of four women who competed in the past two Olympic Games that have come forward to reveal they were molested by Nassar, along with Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas.
The athlete first broke the terms of her agreement with USA Gymnastics when she shared a post on her Twitter account back in October.
It was during the #MeToo campaign when Maroney shared her story, claiming Nassar began abusing her when she 13, and that the assaults did not stop until she left the sport just last year at the age of 20.
‘Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving “medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years”,’ Maroney said of her abuse in a social media post.
‘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.’
Disgrace: Nassar is now serving the first of three sentences for the crimes he committed over her decades-long career (above in court in January)
Terror: On one occasion she said that Nassar gave her a sleeping pill on a flight to Tokyo and she awoke to find herself in a hotel room being assaulted
USA Gymnastics said that the settlement terms were not drawn up by their lawyers but rather by Maroney’s attorney.
‘Contrary to reports, the concept of confidentiality was initiated by McKayla’s attorney, not USA Gymnastics. USA Gymnastics cannot speak to the mediation process, which is confidential and privileged under California law,’ said USA Gymnastics in a statement.
‘The process culminated in a settlement agreement that included a mutual nondisclosure clause and a mutual nondisparagement clause.’
The US Olympic Committee and Nassar former employer, Michigan State University, are also named in the suit.
‘We are heartbroken that this abuse occurred, proud of the brave victims that have come forward and grateful that our criminal justice system has ensured that Nassar will never be able to harm another young woman,’ said the USOC, who claim they were not involved in the settlement.
‘I want people to understand that this kid had no choice. She couldn’t function. She couldn’t work,’ said Maroney’s attorney John Manly.
‘It takes tremendous courage to publicly disclose it, knowing that any day there could be a process server at her door.’
MCKAYLA MARONEY VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT
For as long as I can remember, gymnastics was my life. As a child, my mom said, “I need to put this child in gymnastics, to tire her out.” You could say I was in gymnastics since the age of 18 months. I’ve always felt comfortable in the gym, sort of my home away from home.
I was 7 years old for my first competition. I remember getting ready for the meet. I got my hair braided with a cool bow, and some sparkles. I got to wear this really awesome leo, and wore a matching warm-up. Life was good, I looked good… and I was pretty certain that one day I’d be heading off to the Olympics!
The Olympics is something that brings people hope and joy. It inspires people to fight for their dreams, because anything is possible with hard-work and dedication. I remember watching the 2004 Olympics. I was 8 years old, and I told myself that one day I would wear that red, white, and blue leotard, and compete for my country. Sure, from the outside looking in, it’s a remarkable and amazing story. I did it. I got there, but not without a price.
I made the US National Team at the age of 14, and began to compete throughout the world for my country. When I first met Larry Nassar, he was the doctor for our National Team and our Olympic team. I was told to trust him, that he would treat my injuries and make it possible for me to achieve my Olympic dreams. Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving “medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.” As it turns out, much to my demise, Dr Nassar was not a doctor, he in fact is, was, and forever shall be, a child molester, and a monster of a human being. End of story! He abused my trust, he abused my body and he left scars on my psyche that may never go away.
It all started when I was 13 or 14 years old, at one of my first National Team training camps, in Texas, and it didn’t end until I left the sport. 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 Medal. For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old. I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo. 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. 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, and this has imposed a terrible and undeserved burden of guilt on my loving family.
Larry Nassar deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. Not only because of what he did to me, my teammates and so many other little girls – He needs to be behind bars so he will never prey upon another child. I urge you to impose the maximum sentence upon him.
Ever since I went public with my story, I have been inspired and uplifted by the love and support of my former teammates, fans and many other good people. People should know that sexual abuse of children is not just happening in Hollywood, in the media or in the halls of Congress. This is happening everywhere. Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse.
I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there, were unnecessary, and disgusting. I was deeply saddened by the stories of my fellow Olympic teammates that suffered as I did at the hands of Larry Nassar. More than 140 women and girls had to say, “#MeToo” to Nassar’s sexual assaults and hundreds more were victimized to create the pornographic images that fueled his evil desires. A question that has been asked over and over is: How could have Larry Nassar been allowed to assault so many women and girls for more than two decades? The answer to that question lies in the failure of not one, but three major institutions to stop him — Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee.
When my story became public the US Olympic Committee said, “Each doctor working with our athletes undergoes background checks including an evaluation of medical licensure actions. Unfortunately, this predator was not identified by any organization during the time in question.” Reports in the Nation’s leading newspapers and media outlets document credible claims that Michigan State University trainers and coaches received complaints about Nassar going back to the late 1990s. These complaints were ignored. Nassar was not even licensed to practice medicine in Texas, yet he “treated” and abused girls at the Karolyi Ranch Olympic Training Center in Huntsville, Texas for more than 15 years.
In 2014, Nassar was the subject of a Michigan State University investigation based on additional complaints of sexual misconduct. This botched investigation concluded that Nassar’s actions, which he has now admitted were sexual assaults, were legitimate medical treatments. He was allowed to go back to work at Michigan State University and continue molesting girls. USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee were never informed of this investigation. When other Olympic and National Team athletes complained to USA Gymnastics about Larry Nassar in 2015 he was allowed to retire as the Olympic Team doctor and Michigan State University was never informed of the complaints against him.
He returned to Michigan State University and allegedly continued to molest young girls until he was finally arrested nearly a year later. A simple fact is this. If Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee had paid attention to any of the red flags in Larry Nassar’s behavior I never would have met him, I never would have been “treated” by him, and I never would have been abused by him.
It is my hope that federal and state law enforcement agencies will not close the book on the Larry Nassar scandal after he receives his just punishment. It is time to hold the leadership of Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee accountable for allowing, and in some cases enabling, his crimes. Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it’s time to take our power back.