McKayla Maroney said via social media Wednesday that she, too, has been the victim of sexual abuse – at the hands of Olympic Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
The Olympic gold medalist took to Twitter to share a candid account of the alleged abuse, which she said started when she was 13 and lasted all the way through the recent end of her career in 2016.
“Everyone’s words over the past few days have been so inspiring to me,” she wrote. “I know how hard it is to speak publicly about something so horrible, and so personal, because it’s happened to me too. People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood. 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.”
Maroney then goes on to directly name Nassar as the perpetrator in question, saying that he molested her throughout the years under the guise of giving her “medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.”
“It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated,'” Maroney continued. “It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my Silver.”
The athlete recalled a terrifying experience when she was 15 years old, when she claimed Nassar had given her a sleeping pill for a flight to Tokyo and “the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a ‘treatment,'” she wrote. “I thought I was going to die that night.” Nassar has not yet commented on Maroney’s claims.
In addition to Maroney’s allegations, Nassar currently faces 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and 11 counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct (involving other victims) at the state level, Megan Hawthorne, deputy press secretary for Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette told CNN earlier this year. He pleaded guilty in July to federal charges of receiving child pornography, possessing child pornography and hiding and destroying evidence in the case.
In a statement Wednesday, USA Gymnastics said it “admires the courage of those, like McKayla Maroney, who have come forward to share their personal experiences with sexual abuse.”
“Because of their strength in coming forward, predators can be held accountable for their actions,” the statement continues. “We, like so many others, are outraged and disgusted by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused. We are sorry that any athlete has been harmed during hero his gymnastics career.”
Maroney’s famous teammates were quick to offer up their words of support and solidarity following her tweet,
“So sad and heartbreaking that this happened to you Mack. I’m here for you and I support you,” her 2012 Summer Olympics teammate Jordyn Wieber tweeted.
“@McKaylaMaroney love you girl!!!!!!!” her former Fierce Five teammate Aly Raisman wrote in response, adding, “100% support you. SO proud of you and your strength. Love you like a sister!!”
Fellow Fierce Five gymnast Kyla Ross added her own thoughts, “Heartbreaking that things like this can happen in this world…My heart goes out to you mac & all those affected by such tragic events.”