date of testimony: January 17th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
Over the last year since the news broke I’ve cut off a lot of my friends with no reason. I have shut down in many ways, and I just have to thank God that I have my son, because without him, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. He gives me a purpose to be here.
He had his first real exam a few months ago and was hesitant about letting the doctor pull his pants down to check for a hernia. As I looked at his face I could see that he was scared and I couldn’t help myself from crying so I had to turn away. The doctor reassured him that he had nothing to worry about and that only a doctor should do this exam. Those words reassured him, as they should, but, on the other hand, I felt extreme anxiety rush over my body.
I told him that — I told him that it was okay even though I wanted to grab him and leave. How do I ever explain this to my son? I should be able to tell him that it’s okay and he should be able to trust the doctors, but I don’t trust anymore. This has caused me to be reckless. I’ve ignored phone calls and plans from friends because they can tell that something isn’t okay with me but I’m not able to deal with it.
Yesterday while in the courtroom I had a statement that I didn’t want to read myself. I wanted someone else to read it, but after seeing other people come up here, I decided that I won’t let you get the best of me again, and I will stand here and say what I hope will bring me some sense of peace, if that’s at all possible.
I don’t want anyone feeling the way that I feel, which is weak or that something is wrong with me because of what you have done, but that’s how I feel, and now people will know what you did to me and many other helpless girls.
I first came to you after an auto injury which occurred during my gymnastics season. I came to you with high hopes of being able to be fixed and be able to go back to my normal season and get better and return to the sport that I dearly loved. When I first met you you seemed eager to help and had concern for my back pain and problems, but not long after the first visit you did something that made me completely uncomfortable, but because my mom was in the room and I was told you were the best, I thought that you must know what you were doing
You touched me in places that you shouldn’t have and stuck your fingers inside of my body without my permission. You didn’t wear gloves. You didn’t ask for my permission or my mom’s, as I was a minor. Instead, you took it upon yourself to violate me in a way that has changed my view on everything. And not once, but multiple times.
Due to the fact that I was young and there was no way that a doctor would hurt me — you did, in fact, hurt me emotionally and physically, and that’s something that I can’t forget.
I recall you laughing and joking as you performed your procedure while you talked to my mom, and it makes me physically ill when those thoughts pop into my head. I can be in the grocery store, at work, volunteering, and all I can think about is what has been done to me and how much it has affected my life.
I didn’t have much self respect after that and stopped sports altogether. I now see only female doctors. I have my son who I’ve never let be alone with anybody but family and made sure that I know someone in his school district so I can keep a close watch over him. I protect him because that’s what you should do as a parent, but I go above and beyond to shield him from ever being hurt or violated by someone he thinks he can trust
I don’t sleep. I haven’t slept good in years, and I wake up with anxiety and regret of what ifs. What if I had told my mom, my coach, a friend, a teammate, someone at MSU, would this have saved any of the other girls? Would it have made me feel any better?
Counseling has also been a rough road for me. It makes me relive what you did to me, not just the day I go in to talk but every day that I have to think about even going to talk to my therapist. If I allowed it to consume me like it wants to I’m not sure how I would get through my day. I have anxiety and sleeping disorders all because of what you did to me, and I cannot forgive you.
I do not think you’re sorry. I have tried my best to not read the articles, to not watch t.v. shows or the news, but it’s everywhere. I hear people talking about it all the time, and any time I see you on t.v. you don’t look upset. You don’t look like you’re one bit upset about anything that you did.
The hardest obstacle in life is raising my child and having a relationship that I feel comfortable in. You have stolen pieces of me that I will never get back. You knew what you were doing was wrong and you ruined my trust for most people. This all coming up again has made me lose over 30 pounds and in high school developed an eating disorder. I lost so much weight that I looked extremely sick and passed out at school. Looking back on those pictures I just think, why couldn’t anyone have asked me if I was okay? How could someone not know what you were doing?
My doctor now cares about me as a person, not as a sexual thing, and she doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable when I talk to her about what you did.
When my weight dropped she knew something was wrong, and I was hesitant to tell her, and I only wish that I could change what happened, but I can’t.
I wish you understood how much I’ve been through and wonder where I would be if this had never happened. But that is only a dream to me. You are a predator, and I hope you sit in that cell and ask yourself why on earth would you ever think it was okay to touch any of us. That’s all I have to say.
THE COURT: Ma’am, I hope that your words in public, uttering at defendant, help you sleep.
You did a wonderful job. You took your power back. I hope that you feel that way. Confronting him in open court is the beginning of your healing. I don’t know if you talked about that with your counselor, your secret keeper, but if that secret keeper was here, I bet that he or she would say that verbalizing this, being part of your other athletic sisters who were violated, publicly coming forward like this, is huge in your healing, so I’m hoping that you will stop to hurt — the hurting needs to stop so you can live your life, and I think you realize that.
But here’s something for you mom to mom. He’s robbed you of so much already. Don’t let him rob you of enjoying your son, your family, your husband, your boyfriend, whoever is in your life.
Children stay small for such a very long time — or very short time, and we have long lives, and I know that you’re going to have a long life, and your child will stay small very short, just like you were for a very short window a youth. You were violated. Don’t carry that violation into the next generation. Learn to be happy. You should get happier and live your life as defendant gets miserable and more miserable behind bars. Don’t let him affect the next generation. Take your power back. Live happily with your child and your family, ma’am. I know you can do that. I’ve seen the spark in you. I think you’re going to feel it again. Can you do that for me?
MS. WALKER: I’m going to try my best.
THE COURT: Well, some time come back and show me your child and a happy smile. I know it’s there. I would love to see it. Congratulations for your words, ma’am.
MS. WALKER: Thank you.
THE COURT: Thank you.