Today I will say to you all that this man has broken my world alongside my parents. This assault has affected me physically, emotionally, and mentally, while tarnishing relationships I have now and many that I will never be able to create in the future.
date of testimony: January 18th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age at first abuse: 16
First, thanks for having us.
Today I stand in front of you as many innocent children, women, and athletes alongside myself has suffered from the care of Larry Nassar. I started seeking care from Larry in 2010 and continued for five years. A former athletic trainer my family knew helped me get an appointment with him. He did a medical rotation under Larry. I waited three months to get into my first appointment. I had low back problems from many volleyball and snowboarding injuries.
After my first appointment and adjustment with Larry Nassar I was put in the hospital for two weeks with horrible back, nerve pain, and no feeling left in my leg. I remember that night after my adjustment calling my mom’s friend as I had no control or movement of my body from my chest down. I felt paralyzed.
At the hospital visit I had every MRI, CAT scan, shot, EKG, and spinal tap at age 16. Larry Nassar called my mom’s cell phone personally after I was transferred from Alma Hospital to Saginaw Hospital. He told my parents to bring me back to MSU as he was — as soon as I was out and would fix me.
After those two weeks we returned to MSU. I could barely walk or stand on my own. My dad carried me to the room, and he told my parents that he was forever indebted to us. He had never put anyone in the hospital from an adjustment. From that day on he joked about my un-flexibility and he stretched me out at the beginning of my hour long adjustments, sometimes longer. I drove 45 minutes one to two times a month, sometimes more depending on the month’s pain or injuries.
My parents would take off work. My mother would bring him pumpkin muffins as a thank you, as I was getting the best care, but in reality could I have avoided five years of pain, tests, and medicines?
Larry kept telling me and my parents that I could play and I was — structurally couldn’t hurt myself regardless of what other doctors had told me. Did he keep just bringing me back for his pleasure? It is amazing how much a person or athlete can endure because they love a sport so much.
I have had dozens of doctors tell me to stop playing volleyball and that I could ruin my future. In high school I quit basketball and soccer and attempted to get better for my senior year of volleyball. I continued collegiate volleyball while trusting in you and only you. After one of my collegiate volleyball accidents in 2014 it put me in a wheelchair for a month. The day before my accident I was at MSU for an adjustment and for the first time ever after an adjustment you said that I could play in my game that night. That next day I fell in practice, the whole gym went silent as I lost control in my lower body.
Over years I have had countless shots and scans, spinal taps and injections as I had in my first hospital stay. I fought endless nights with my parents about not giving up my college career and that Larry told me I could play, halting my relationship with my parents for months.
I finally gave up my volleyball career in 2015 despite what Larry said and only came back for treatment one more time. The last treatment I had with Larry he mounted the table and penetrated my vagina ungloved while grunting and making inappropriate remarks. He bent me over to check my hip alignment, pulled me close to him and pushed my head down. That day I knew I would never return to his care, not because I knew at the time he was abusing me, but deep down in my gut I knew something wasn’t right.
I had been told that the damage I have had over the years could allow me to never have my own children. And if I am able to get pregnant, it will be a bed rest, scary, difficult pregnancy, and it will be very difficult to hold my children when they start to grow. That I have already seen complications with.
Today I will say to you all that this man has broken my world alongside my parents. This assault has affected me physically, emotionally, and mentally, while tarnishing relationships I have now and many that I will never be able to create in the future. This sexual assault and molestation has affected my job, my dreams, my trust in people and doctors. I hate the color green and white and despise anything that is associated with MSU.
I wake up in pools of sweat screaming in nightmares. I have horrible anxiety attacks at work and in public that make me want to rip out of my own skin.
I have taken myself to the ER, had two surgical procedures, had my esophagus stretched, throw up after most meals, and from stress my stomach looks like red raw meat.
My parents have paid thousands of dollars in co-pays, physical therapies, counseling sessions, and its currently a financial struggle as I try and pay all the medicines I take to allow me to get through my day.
I have mornings I don’t care to get out of bed or see the light of day. I have given up my dreams of being a collegiate volleyball coach after four years of collegiate coaching because it reminds me too much of all the horrific memories of being in Larry Nassar’s care and having him finger me vaginally and anally, bending me over in front of him, molesting me, massaging my body while grabbing my breasts, and holding my chest inside of my bra while adjusting me, all in front of my own parents, siblings, friends, and even my trainer. He did this for his disgusting pleasure, something sick and twisted to get off on.
I still remember the day that my 22 year old brother, who is sitting here in the courtroom, brought me to my appointment as most days I couldn’t drive home from them, and you stood there and said to him, are you here to beat me up? Knowing what I know now, we both wish he would have.
My love life has taken a toll as I hate being touched, hugged, loved on, and I hate being in uncomfortable situations that at one point was places and people I loved being around. I hate wearing shorts and more than anything there are days I hate being in my own skin
Larry has affected and damaged my parents which I will hate you for until the day I die. They trusted him with their baby girl. We came to you hopeless and in desperation for answers to why I couldn’t feel my feet, why I had to carry a foam roller and special seat cushion to class or wear a TENs unit to prom, answers to why I needed three hours of treatment a day in college to get through a half mile or sit in class. I can probably count on — count how many days I was physically able to play volleyball versus the many days I sat and observed while seeking treatment. I trusted him and he took advantage of me and hopeless athletes, children, and family.
I would like to now address Larry Nassar.
Today I close this chapter in my book and hope to reopen it one day to help other survivors that have been sexually assaulted and molested, both men and women. I will not allow myself to be affected another minute by you after tomorrow’s sentencing.
I will watch you be sentenced to a life of loneliness, regret, and hurt. I have made new goals and I will accomplish them. I will wake up with a grateful heart and I will make relationships with people, and mark my words, I will be a mother, and no pain, emotionally or physically, will ever stop me.
In a statement you made you said you’re asking forgiveness from God every day, and I hope you do in your dark, cold, lonely cell until the day you die.
This abuse has affected my faith but this is what my heart has come up with; with my God, after a person dies there is a big white gate with beautiful lights and there located right in the front of the gate will be a long line of sinners like me waiting in line to get inside the beautiful gates of heaven. But in my faith, you will be walking the opposite way to whatever dark place you have coming.
My heart goes out to the athletes, girls, and women you have hurt and been preyed on. I hope by standing up before all of you and the world today they know that women are strong. The women you preyed on for many years are not just innocent little girls with big dreams of becoming amazing athletes.
We have grown into strong women who no longer are innocent and scared but we’ll stand up and speak out to the once famous Olympic gymnastics doctor. We will stand together, unified, until the laws are changed so that no other little girl is ever abused, penetrated, or molested as you did to us. Women can and will stand up against all abusers.
You, Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics, MSU, and all others who believe they don’t need to protect us, these people who are responsible may be — may be behind the names of their organizations, but today I will no longer be referred to as Jane B31 Doe but I will publicly be Taylor Cole.
My father told me that Coles are strong and they stand up for what is right. They stand up for change and Coles will never back down. I will, along with all other me too women, will stand up for our safety and our rights until justice is served. Thank you.
THE COURT: Thank you, ma’am. You are a very — you are a very strong survivor with a big, amazing voice and a big, amazing heart. You have beautiful skin that you should feel comfortable in.
That big voice, those words that you’ve echoed, should allow you every day to feel comfortable in that skin, to push away those nightmares.
He’s gone. Your words replace what he’s done to you. They’re strong. They mean change. And you are building your world together by what you’ve done, you and your sister survivors. The best medicine that you have is yourself, your voice. The world has just heard you. The changes that you and your sister survivors are making and will continue to make protect all children, including those of your own, so I want to thank you for being brave enough to be here, and I wish you continued success and health, and keep that voice talking, yelling, screaming about change, because you are a pillar of strength. Do not weaken.
MS. COLE: Thank you.
THE COURT: There’s toughness in you, ma’am. I see it, and now you’re smiling, so I really hope that you continue to smile every single day and get stronger, because that’s what I see for you. He will get weaker, as you say, behind bars in a cold cell. Push him away. Put in new memories. You have got so many great things to offer the world. Thank you for being here, for doing that.
MS. COLE: Thank you.