In a tweet hashtagged #MeToo, reigning Olympic all-around champion Simone Biles revealed that she was a victim of sexual abuse by team doctor Larry Nassar.
“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” Biles writes.
“There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault,” she adds.” I am not afraid to tell my story anymore.”
Biles credits the recent revelations by her friends and teammates including Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman with helping her to also speak up. Like those gymnasts, Biles also lays blame with USA Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body, for failing to protect her and others from Nassar’s abuse.
“It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the ‘special’ treatment,” Biles writes. “This behavior is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abuse, especially coming from someone whom I was TOLD to trust.”
According to accounts by more than 100 gymnasts, Nassar, who volunteered as the national team doctor for USA Gymnastics, abused the athletes under the guise of medical treatment for years, including at the national team training camps in Houston, Tex. and at international competitions.
In a lawsuit filed against USA Gymnastics, Maroney says that she was paid by USA Gymnastics to keep the allegations of abuse private. In her suit, Nichols says that the organization delayed reporting Nassar to law enforcement for five weeks.
In response to Nichols’ suit, USA Gymnastics said in a statement that “U.S.A. Gymnastics kept the matter confidential because of the F.B.I.’s directive not to interfere with the investigation. U.S.A. Gymnastics reported Nassar to the F.B.I. in July 2015 and to a different F.B.I. office again in April 2016.”
Nassar pleaded guilty to federal charges of child pornography in December, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first degree criminal sexual assault in two Michigan courts; the sentencing hearings are scheduled for this month and many of the athletes who were abused are expected to testify.