McKayla Maroney is sharing her story in hopes Larry Nassar gets the maximum punishment for sexually assaulting his young USA Gymnastics patients.
The 21-year-old and her mother delivered victim-impact statements in the form of letters to the federal judge presiding over the case against the disgraced team doctor who sexually abused McKayla and her teammates for years.
Erin Maroney described the severe impact Nassar’s abuse had on her daughter:
“This experience has shattered McKayla. 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.”
We can’t even imagine how painful it must be to have to write that about your child.
Erin went on to say that she and her husband “were not allowed to stay with McKayla” while traveling abroad and “sometimes we were not even in the same hotel”:
“We were never allowed to the U.S. Olympic Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch nor any other training facility. My husband once questioned the propriety of the isolation of the girls during international travel. He was assured by 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.”
The mother went on to describe a disturbing incident she now knows about, but was unaware of at the time:
“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. 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 described the same encounter saying 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.”
Erin went on to call out the institutions that kept Nassar’s abuse in place:
“Our daughter was totally failed by USA Gymnastics, by Michigan State University and by the U.S. Olympic Committee. 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!”
“A simple fact is this. If Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. 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.”
The gold medalist powerfully concluded:
“He abused my trust, abused my body and left scars on my psyche that may never heal. Larry Nassar deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”
Cosign. Stay strong, McKayla — so proud of you.
[Image via Mark Stout/WENN.]