Gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney says she told a top USA Gymnastics coach about being sexually assaulted by physician Larry Nassar in 2011 — and that her coach responded only with silence. Maroney, who was one of almost 200 women and girls to testify that she was molested by Nassar under the guise of treatment, told NBC’s Dateline that she was abused hundreds of times by Nassar, beginning when she was just 13 years old. But it wasn’t until a horrifying incident at the 2011 world championships in Tokyo, she said, that she was first able to acknowledge to herself that she was being abused.
“I was bawling, naked, on a bed, him on top of me, and I thought I was going to die.” Maroney recalled. “I was being abused. I remember waking up the next day and wanting to tell someone.”
So during a car ride with the rest of her teammates and then-Team USA coach John Geddert, a longtime friend of Nassar’s, she summoned the courage to speak up.
“I even said out loud that last night, Larry was fingering me,” said Maroney. “People gasped.”
“I can’t even believe that I said that out loud in a car like that,” she added. “But I must have been so desperate at the time.”
Three of Maroney’s team USA teammates corroborated Maroney’s account. Aly Raisman, who won gold alongside Maroney in the 2012 Olympics, said that “Geddert was in the car and just said nothing.” After the rest of that trip passed in silence, Maroney said, she sank deeper into depression and decided to never speak up about what was happening to her again.
Maroney, now 22, has sued USA Gymnastics for allegedly conspiring to cover up Nassar’s abuse. She also told NBC that she considered it unlikely that Martha and Bela Karolyi, the longtime gymnastics coaches who ran the elite training camp where Maroney was first abused by Nassar, hadn’t been aware of the doctor’s behavior. The Karolyis have denied any knowledge of his actions. Geddert has not responded to requests for comment.
Watch video of Maroney’s interview with NBC below.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.