In this 2012 photo, U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney poses after completing her routine on the vault during the Artistic Gymnastic women’s qualifications at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

In this 2012 photo, U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney poses after completing her routine on the vault during the Artistic Gymnastic women’s qualifications at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

Olympic gymnast alleges sexual abuse by team doctor

McKayla Maroney said the molestation began when she was 13 and lasted throughout her career.

By Will Graves / Associated Press

Two-time Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney says she was molested for years by a former USA Gymnastics team doctor, abuse she said started in her early teens and continued for the rest of her competitive career.

Maroney posted a lengthy statement on Twitter early Wednesday that detailed the allegations of abuse against Dr. Larry Nassar, who spent three decades working with athletes at USA Gymnastics but now is in jail in Michigan awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Nassar also is awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges and has been sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse.

Nassar has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges, and the dozens of civil suits filed in Michigan are currently in mediation.

Maroney, now 21, says the abuse began while attending a U.S. National team training camp at the Karoyli Ranch in the Sam Houston Forest north of Houston, Texas. Maroney was 13 at the time and wrote Nassar told her she was receiving “medically necessary treatment he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.” Maroney did not detail Nassar’s specific actions.

Maroney, who won a team gold and an individual silver on vault as part of the “Fierce Five” U.S. women’s team at the 2012 Olympics in London, said Nassar continued to give her “treatment” throughout her career. She described Nassar giving her a sleeping pill while the team traveled to Japan for the 2011 world championships. Maroney says Nassar later visited her in her hotel room after the team arrived in Tokyo, where he molested her yet again.

“I thought I was going to die that night,” Maroney wrote.

Maroney did not immediately return an interview request from The Associated Press. Attorneys for Nassar had no comment. USA Gymnastics also had no immediate comment.

Maroney says she decided to come forward as part of the “#MeToo” movement on social media that arose in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“This is happening everywhere,” Maroney wrote. “Wherever there is a position of power, there is the potential for abuse. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things I had to endure to get there, were unnecessary and disgusting.”

Maroney called for change, urging other victims to speak out and demanding organizations “be held accountable for their inappropriate actions and behavior.”

Maroney is the highest profile gymnast yet to come forward claiming she was abused by Nassar. Jamie Dantzscher, a bronze medalist on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, was part of the initial wave of lawsuits filed against Nassar in 2016. Aly Raisman, who won six medals while serving as the captain of the U.S. women’s team in both 2012 and 2016, called for sweeping change at USA Gymnastics in August.

USA Gymnastics launched an independent review of its policies in the wake of the allegations against Nassar in the summer of 2016 following reporting by the Indianapolis Star that highlighted chronic mishandling of abuse allegations against coaches and staff at some of its more than 3,500 clubs across the country.

In June, the federation immediately adopted 70 recommendations proffered by Deborah Daniels, a former federal prosecutor who oversaw the review. The new guidelines require member gyms to go to authorities immediately, with Daniels suggesting USA Gymnastics consider withholding membership from clubs that decline to do so. The organization also named Toby Stark, a child welfare advocate, as its director of SafeSport. Part of Stark’s mandate is educating members on rules, educational programs, reporting and adjudication services.

USA Gymnastics had initially agreed to purchase the training facility at the Karolyi Ranch following longtime national team coordinator Martha Karolyi’s retirement shortly after the 2016 Olympics ended. The organization has since opted out of that agreement. The organization also fired president Steve Penny in March. A replacement has not been named.

Maroney, who lives in California and officially retired in 2015, encouraged others to speak out.

“Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long,” she wrote, “and it’s time to take our power back.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen of Everett poses with a soccer ball in front of the U.S. capitol building in Washington, D.C.. (Provided photo)
How Rep. Rick Larsen helped Seattle secure its 2026 World Cup bid

The longtime congressman isn’t solely responsible, but he played a small role in bringing the event to the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez, left, reacts with third base coach Manny Acta after hitting a two-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Monday, July 4, 2022, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
M’s offense backs strong Flexen start for win over Padres

Julio Rodriguez homers again and Cal Raleigh drive four runs in an 8-2 victory.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox fall to Canadians

Everett musters just two hits as Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis makes a rehab appearance.

Storm
Dream pull away in 3rd to beat Storm

Seattle never leads in a 90-76 loss to Atlanta.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez is greeted in the dugout after he hit a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 3, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Rodriguez, Ray lead Mariners by lowly A’s

Seattle’s star rookie drive in both runs and Robbie Ray fans a season-high 12 batters.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox rally from early hole to beat Emeralds

Victor Labrada hits the go-ahead home run in the seventh inning as Everett wins 6-4.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Silvertips add pair in CHL import draft

Everett selects Czechian forward Dominik Rymon with pick 57 and Swiss goalie Tim Metzger 117th overall.

Silvertips’ Niko Huuhtanen and Giants’ Jaden Lipinski fight for the puck during the playoff match up against the Vancouver Giants on Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips will look to replace Huuhtanen in CHL import draft

The standout forward who scored 37 goals this past season recently signed a professional contract to play in Finland.

FILE - UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., right, tries to get by Southern California forward Isaiah Mobley during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on March 5, 2022, in Los Angeles. UCLA and Southern California are planning to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference in a seismic change that could lead to another major realignment of college sports. A person who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, June 30, 2022, on condition of anonymity because the schools' talks with the Big Ten have not been made public said the schools have taken steps to request an invitation to join the conference. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
UCLA, USC leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The two schools announce they will be exiting the Pac-12 in 2024 in a major blow to the viability of the conference.

Most Read