date of testimony: January 17th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age of first abuse: 14
statement read by court official Robyn Liddell
I was 14 years old when Larry Nassar first treated me. I had just won the gold medal for rhythmic gymnastics at the Junior Olympics. I will never forget walking into his office for the first time at Michigan State University. I was told I was lucky to get an appointment.
When Nassar walked me back into his treatment room he pointed to the iconic photo of Kerri Strug right after her gold medal vault in the ’96 Olympics. That’s me, he said. I taped her up so she could do that.
What happened after has haunted me for the rest of my life. It is a moment in time that is seared into my sense memory, one that causes reoccurring flashbacks, nightmares, and disassociative episodes.
Larry Nassar sexually violated me under the guise of medical treatment. At the time of my abuse I was representing the United States as a member of the USA Gymnastics national team. I never wanted what happened in that room to be true. I ran away from it, buried it, and numbed myself through self destructive behavior. I struggled with suicide ideation, self harm, incredible low self-esteem, panic attacks, severe depression, and PTSD. It has had a deep and long-lasting impact on my life.
Last November I finally came to terms with the truth of what happened on that day. He did not, quote, treat me for lower back pain. He sexually abused me. I was still a child. I wanted to end my life and, in doing so, end the insurmountable shame, grief, and pain that came flooding back.
Yet I am not the only one. The extent of Larry Nassar’s damage is unprecedented. There are hundreds of victims at the hands of this man. I stand in solidarity with other women who came forward to condemn what has happened. Larry Nassar stole our innocence. He violated our bodies. My childhood was stolen from me.
Shame on USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for allowing a child predator to continually abuse young women and girls for decades. Had his first victims been believed back in 1997 I would not be a victim today. Had they taken proper recourse and action, I would not be a victim today. It is beyond unconscionable that so many women had to come forward before Larry Nassar’s behavior was even addressed. These institutions that employed and protected him for all these years must be held accountable. We demand justice and accountability. It is time.
THE COURT: Thank you. As to Taryn Look, justice and accountability I can give you at sentencing. It is very clear from what you’ve said and from what others have said that defendant used Olympic winners, letters, his posters as a plan, scheme, design to violate athletes to gain trust. It’s all part of a bigger plan. And it’s a shame. Shame on defendant for using those prizes as enticements to violate young women.
Ms. Look earned a gold medal already but she has earned a gold medal from me as well in terms of her golden words. She stands united with the rest of the survivors, and she, again, adds that piece to the puzzle of how someone can be so manipulative, and no one should feel and Ms. Look should not feel like a victim. She should feel like a hero for her words, and she should get rid of the guilt. So many people overlooked what was going on. She’s not overlooked it. She’s become part of the strong, united voice that’s saying no more, and I honor her for doing that and all of the survivors.