I was — people didn't believe me, even people I thought were my friends. They called me a liar, a whore, and even accused me of making all of this up just to get attention. Even USAG psychologist Doctor Ali Arnold was campaigning for positive Larry Nassar stories all over social media to try and discount my accusations.
date of testimony: January 18th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
Olympic Bronze Medalist
Well, thank you, Your Honor, for giving me the opportunity to speak.
I fell in love with gymnastics when I was just three years old. I started at seven years old, and thanks to the sacrifices of my parents, siblings, God given talent, and hard work I progressed through the levels quickly. I made the USA National Team when I was just 12 and continued to make the USA National Team every year after that through the 2001 big games.
I competed in Sydney, Australia, in the 2000 Olympic games where I, along with my teammates, won a bronze medal for our country.
My career and elite gymnastics took an emotional, physical, and psychological toll on me during the period of my life after college.
I spent years of soul searching and years in therapy trying to heal from all the scars I was left with from elite gymnastics led by USA Gymnastics. I struggled with anorexia and bulimia. I struggled with family relationships, personal relationships, and depression so severe at one point that I was hospitalized for attempting suicide.
I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Why am I struggling so much? I couldn’t even stand to watch gymnastics on t.v. and I have never felt proud of any of my accomplishments in elite gymnastics. I was left with zero self confidence and led down a path of self destructive behaviors and a constant battle with myself to try to feel just okay.
Well, a very good friend of mine, also former elite gymnast, was sexually abused by her personal coach. As she opened up more and more about her awful experience — this is around July 2016 — I realized that many of the disgusting acts she endured by her coach were very similar to the medical procedures that Doctor Larry Nassar performed on me throughout my entire elite career.
Doctor Nassar was a highly respected doctor from Michigan State University and the team physician for USA Gymnastics while I competed. He spent a considerable amount of time with us as child athletes, traveling with the team and treating us during national and international competitions and training camps. I was a young girl pursuing my dream to be an Olympian. I can’t even count how many times Nassar treated me for my hips, my back, my hamstring, and even at times gave me routine physicals.
His so-called treatments included, though were not limited to, breast exams, stretching me while he would lay on top of me with his penis on my crouch, massaging me in very intimate places, and even placing his ungloved hand into my anus and vagina in order to get my hips to pop back in place and relieve my back pain.
It was painful at times, but Doctor Nassar was nice, sympathic, and provided a sharp contrast to the avertedly abusive environment overseen by USA Gymnastics and others. I trusted him.
Doctor Nassar never used any type of glove in his treatment. There was never any lubricant and there was almost never another adult present. Most of his treatments occurred in my personal hotel rooms at competition or in my personal cabin at the Koralyi Ranch in Texas in my own bed.
He never spoke to my parents about this procedure and he never obtained written consent from anyone. Doctor Nassar is no doctor at all, and I’ll now refer to him as Larry.
Late summer of 2016 was when I began to understand that Larry had sexually abused me all those years and that his treatments were not legitimate medical procedures. I decided to speak up even though at the time I had no idea there were other victims. When I came forward in August 2016 I was attacked on social media. People did not believe me. They believed him.
I was — people didn’t believe me, even people I thought were my friends. They called me a liar, a whore, and even accused me of making all of this up just to get attention. Even USAG psychologist Doctor Ali Arnold was campaigning for positive Larry Nassar stories all over social media to try and discount my accusations.
Instead of backing down, I continued to speak my truth because I couldn’t stand the thought of this happening to one of my nieces, nephews, or any other child that may have crossed paths with Larry or anyone like him.
Every day after that more women and young girls were coming forward. I wasn’t alone. I further came to learn that he had been doing this to so many girls over many years despite — despite several complaints to MSU and USAG, their stories so shockingly similar to mine.
Your Honor, I would like — I would now like to address the defendant directly.
Who do they believe now, Larry? I remember your obnoxious laugh and how loud it was and then you would slurp the drool off your lip. I don’t see you laughing now.
Larry, you saw all the physical, mental, and emotional abuse from our coaches and USAG National staff. You pretended to be on my side calling all of them the monsters. I can’t say I disagree with you there, but instead of protecting children and reporting the abuse you saw, you used your position of power to manipulate and abuse as well.
You knew I was powerless. You pretended to be my friend. You snuck me food and candy when you knew food was being restricted. You manipulated me into thinking you were the good guy and helping me while sexually abusing me over and over and over for your own twisted sexual pleasure. You even had the audacity to abuse me in my room in my own bed at the Olympic games in Sydney.
I’m not going to say again everything you did to me because I know a sick bastard like you will enjoy hearing it. And now over a 140 women have bravely come forward, not only for ourselves but to ensure that you can never hurt another child or destroy another family again.
How dare you ask any of us for forgiveness. And how dare you act like you care for a second about our healing. And how fucking dare you say sorry about everything you’ve done and all the lives you’ve destroyed. We all see right through your bullshit now. You’re a pathetic monster that is only sorry you got caught.
I’m here today with all these other women, not victims, but survivors, to tell you face to face that your days of manipulation are over. We have a voice now. We have the power now.
There is no therapy, no cure, and no healing for monsters like you. You’re pure evil and I hope every other evil pervert listening to this is sitting there cowardly like you with their tail between their legs, because you are just one of so many that are going to get what they deserve.
I will continue to heal and I will continue to stay strong knowing I have a bright future ahead of me. All your future holds, all you get to look forward to now is rotting in prison for the rest of your life. And all you will ever feel now, Larry, is forever powerless, and now I can finally say that I’m truly proud of myself for something I’ve done relating to my elite gymnastics career.
Thank you, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Ma’am, I’m proud of you, too, and you should feel proud not just for your words but for your strong voice on behalf of your sister survivors and all other victims, because, as you know, sadly there are other pedophiles and this is hopefully a start in eroding the silence, which we need to do, and you’ve started that ripple effect along with your fellow survivors.
I’m really saddened each time I hear that people didn’t believe you, whether you reported it to someone or whether it’s your own friend or family member. People need to learn that your message has been heard by me. I’m hoping that the public hears it, that children need to be believed and supported by everybody around them.
And, ma’am, you know that suicide let’s him win. Don’t let him win.
MS. DANTZSCHER: No.
THE COURT: Never.
MS. DANTZSCHER: Never.
THE COURT: That’s what I want to hear. And that’s a great smile. I’m sure it took you a long time to be able to smile again, but I’m very happy to see that. I care about your healing.
That’s why I address each victim individually.
MS. DANTZSCHER: Thank you.
THE COURT: People like defendant who do this — there’s a lot of mention that it’s for their own sexual pleasure, and that is in part true, but it’s also about their control over other human beings and feeling like God and they can do anything. Today your words, your strong stance, and voice, your absolute eye contact with your predator puts you in control. He is not in control anymore. I think you sent that message, and I applaud you being here. Continued happiness, ma’am.
MS. DANTZSCHER: Thank you, Your Honor.