Tiffany Thomas Lopez
date of testimony: January 17th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age of first abuse:
I imagined hitting you if I ever had the opportunity to see you again. Instead, I’ll allow my thoughts and my feelings to hit your heart.
You and your actions have walked with me every step of the way since leaving Michigan State University, such a beautiful campus tarnished with your touch.
Not only did you take away an amazing opportunity that I had playing for a division one college, I was also selected to play on the 1999 USA Junior National Softball team in Taipei, Taiwan. As exciting of an experience as it was, my most memorable moment was sitting around a box of pizza with teammates debating if I should ask them if they had ever experienced treatment like I had. Your actions not only consumed my thoughts but distracted me from moments I can never live again.
Every few years I wondered if there was another Tiffany Thomas who sought treatment on the tables of the Duffy or Jenison training room. Would you ask her what was the matter as she lay there sobbing because she felt violated? But to my surprise, I’d find pictures of you smiling and enjoying life.
I was hurt and disappointed but also extremely relieved knowing it was only me, and I accepted this as something I would live with forever.
Since you decided to tell the truth about sexually assaulting an army of young women, I’m choosing to stand tall with them and fight back. The army you chose in the late ’90s to silence me, to dismiss me and my attempt at speaking the truth, will not prevail over the army you created when violating us. We seek justice. We deserve justice. And we will have it.
I have decided to start living again. Your actions have had me by the throat for years, and I am ready to be released by your clench. I will no longer fear speaking up for myself. I will no longer fear speaking up for my children. I will stand my ground to those in authoritative positions and, most importantly, I will try not to be hesitant toward male medical professionals. I will try to forgive you of your wrongdoing and allow my heart to heal.
Lastly, I’d like to thank the court for allowing me an opportunity to speak my thoughts and heal my heart.
THE COURT: That was absolutely beautiful, just as you are. I’m so proud of you for being here today, and I see you as the tallest structure we have in the world because you emulate that, so whatever he did to you, know that the rest of us see you as beautiful and strong and you are standing your ground here today. The message has been heard.
I actually like that you started out with I imagined hitting you because it’s a message to all potential victims, and current victims we don’t know about suffering whatever abuse, that they do have the right to hit to protect themselves, and that’s what you are doing here today, protecting all others, and I admire you for that because you didn’t have to be here. You chose to go public to speak on behalf of not just everybody who we know about but all those unknown voices. They can have a voice as tall and as loud and as meaningful as you, so I thank you. I think you are wonderful and you are going to make the biggest waves that will continue to reach out to others, and I want to thank you for that now.
MS. LOPEZ: Thank you.