Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney says she too was molested by team doctor

She posts on Twitter that it began at age 13
McKayla Maroney competes in the women's gymnastics team all-around at the 2012 Summer Games in London.
McKayla Maroney competes in the women's gymnastics team all-around at the 2012 Summer Games in London.

The American gymnast McKayla Maroney, an Olympic gold medalist, said she was sexually abused by the same team doctor who is already facing criminal charges for molesting other gymnasts.

Maroney, 21, posted on Twitter early Wednesday morning that the doctor, Lawrence G. Nassar, began molesting her at age 13.

Nassar is in jail in Michigan, facing 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving at least seven other individuals. “This guy is a monster,” Bill Schuette, the attorney general of Michigan, said in February.

Nassar, who has pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, is awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges, and he has been sued by more than 125 women accusing him of sexual abuse. He has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges, and dozens of civil suits filed against him in Michigan are currently in mediation.

In her Twitter post, Maroney said Nassar molested team members, including her, under the guise of treating them for medical conditions over several decades. Her claims matched the stories of other gymnasts and former teammates.

“It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated,’” Maroney said. “It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my silver.

“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.”

Jamie Dantzscher, a 2000 Olympian, is among the gymnasts who have accused Nassar. Although the charges relate to seven gymnasts, lawyers say dozens of other accusers have come forward, and many have joined a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics.

Nassar has denied accusations against him in the past. A lawyer who has represented him, Matt Newburg, declined a request to comment on Wednesday.

Maroney’s accusation comes a day after another gold medalist, Tatiana Gutsu of Ukraine, accused a star gymnast of raping her when she was 15. Gutsu won the all-around title at the 1992 Barcelona Games as part of the Unified Team of former Soviet athletes.

Maroney said she chose to speak out publicly because of the “Me Too” movement in which women post the phrase on social media to show that they, too, have been sexually assaulted or harassed.

Maroney was part of the 2012 American gymnastics team that won a team gold medal. She also won an individual silver on her specialty, the vault.

She drew extra attention that year for a look of disappointment she displayed on the medal stand after winning her silver. The picture became an internet meme, often labeled, “McKayla is not impressed,” and President Barack Obama and others emulated her expression.

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