date of testimony: January 18th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age at first abuse: 14
age at hearing: 19
Four years ago I was first treated by Doctor Nassar on February 14. I was told to see Nassar for a minor shoulder injury as I entered my level nine season. For those that are not familiar with competitive gymnastics, level nine is when gymnastic becomes real. I wanted to start off my high level gymnastics career with a healthy body, and with his credentials he seemed like the right person to go to.
My mom and I went to the appointment with high hopes he would work his magic and relieve my pain. Many of my teammates had been treated by him and said he was the real deal, and he was.
I had an hour and a half appointment and he helped me for the whole time. I was relieved from my pain and I felt as if I was in good hands. He made my mom and I feel so comfortable with him, and we had no doubt that he would take care of my needs for the rest of my gymnastics career
I came back to the gym the next day with his report on my injury and gave it to my coaches. I was not allowed to do skill on bars for a while due to my injury and my coaches were hesitant to allow me to miss out on competing bars for the beginning of the season. I was confused at the hesitations because not only did they always want the best for me, but it was Larry’s suggestion, and how could someone question him?
My relationship with Larry grew. He was no longer my doctor, he was my friend. My older teammates and I had a good relationship with him as well. We were always so excited to see him to the point that we would make a day out of it and carpool to Michigan State together and have him fix all of our issues.
The first time I felt violated was when I was treated for a lower back injury. This time I was not excited. My teammates joked about his massages, and they all had back injuries so I knew what I was getting into. I didn’t tell my mom because I was uncomfortable and I was never good at talking about my nerves.
I do not need to go into detail for what his treatment entailed because we’ve already heard it, all of it. At the time I thought it was weird but I didn’t think too much about it. My mom was in the room, and when I flinched, he apologized and asked if I was okay.
I got back to the gym and my teammates asked about it and we all joked. An old teammate went to my high school and we carried our friendship outside of the gym and into school. She was treated multiple times for severe, career-ending back pain. She joked about the treatments with our friends and it was a joke within our friend group.
I know now it was not a joke. Larry was a manipulator. He made my teammates and I feel so comfortable to the point that it seemed okay to get treatment at his house.
I went to his house for the first time with an older teammate. I had a tailbone bruising that was keeping me from competing so I tagged along with her to get treatment. She had been struggling in the gym with injuries so all of her trust was in Larry. Everyone knew it was her time to hang up the leotard. She leaned on Larry for support, and even when he knew it was time, he convinced her to stick with it until time was up just for his own pleasure
In doing this she lost a good relationship with my coaches. He turned so many of my teammates away from my coaches and tried to convince us that they were the monsters. Who’s the monster now? As she talked to Larry in his basement about her future I laid on his couch with acupuncture all down my crouch. Uncomfortable is an understatement. I am not familiar with the law but I do know that I should not be able to listen in on other patients’ injuries and private conversations.
I’ve never been comfortable with exposing my body, and being exposed to my doctor and teammate in the basement of his house crossed so many lines, but I said nothing. He took my voice away. He made me feel weak, but still I was unphased because it was the Doctor Nassar. It was as if it was a privilege to be laying half naked in the basement of his house.
The next season came and it was time for me to start thinking about college gymnastics, my ultimate goal since I was little. Larry and I talked about my future and he made me doubt my coaches, saying they wouldn’t get me to achieve my goals. Look at me now.
He pushed me to look into MSU gymnastics. How could I not? He took an active role within the gymnastic’s program’s medical care. I knew that to do this I would have to have a very successful gymnastics season, but God had a different plan. My junior year had to be the best with academics and gymnastics to get a spot on the team.
I went to Larry with excruciating shin pain a few days after my first competition. He then told me I had fractured both shins in five different places. I was devastated. I was out for the season.
He hugged me as I cried on his shoulder and he seemed like he genuinely cared. But now when I look back, he was probably excited that he had reached full trust and knew that I would have to come back for more checkups and he would be able to use me for his own benefit yet again.
Just days after my life felt shattered my mom suffered a stroke. I was unable to distract the pain of my mother with what I love to do. I was 16 with my life unfolding in front of me — sorry — he watched my mom struggle to walk into the doctor’s office and struggled to ask how his day was, and yet still he abused me right in front of her.
As my shins started to heal I became eager to get myself prepared to compete the end of my season. My coaches were willing to do anything to see me compete and pulled some strings to even make regionals an option. At this time my family took a vacation to Mexico for my brother’s spring break. I stayed back with a friend to possibly compete.
I took matters into my own hands and set up a visit with Larry. He said I wouldn’t be able to see him at the doctor’s office without a parent present so he told me to come to his house, and because I had done it so many times before, I did. His wife and kids were upstairs so I felt that he would at least have the decency not to do anything risky with them in the house.
As I went downstairs he asked if I had shorts on underneath my sweatpants, which was weird because they were loose enough to roll up past my knees and I had never had to show any more skin for my shins than that. I replied by saying, no, and he gave me a pair of his short, loose, running shorts. I didn’t hesitate to put them on because I didn’t want to make things weird and, again, I felt lucky enough for him to get me in after office hours.
I laid on the training table as he massaged my butt. He did not explain how this would help but I went with it.
He played the movie White House Down as he treated me, trying to distract me from his pleasure.
I told no one about it because I did not need to be distracted for the meet and I was already struggling with things at home. Pushing issues to the side is something I struggle with. I don’t deal with them head on and they come back and I never get closure, and this is what I did and have done up until this point.
Despite the fact that I didn’t compete and felt that there was no hope for college gymnastics, the following summer I attended a Michigan State gymnastics camp. Larry said he would put in a good word for me, and when they offered me a walk-on position, he was one of the first people who sent me a congratulations text.
It sickens me that he had a part in my gymnastics journey, and at every time I think about that day, I should be so proud of myself, but I just can’t get you out of my head.
I doubted if MSU was still a good fit for me because maybe he manipulated me to thinking it was a good choice. Those doubts went away when I realized that my Spartan family is something I needed.
When the first article came out I was sick to my stomach. I started thinking about every treatment that I had done and it messed with my brain so hard that I was unable to be touched by anyone other than a female. It pushed me to end a healthy and loving relationship, luckily with his support he took me back when I realized I needed him and that I don’t deserve to be lonely, I deserve to be loved.
After reading the article my mom and other gym moms did some research and decided to take his side because they were also manipulated. I went along with it. Anything to stop the questions. My coaches had no words other than how sorry they were for all of us. My older teammates at this point were graduated, in college, starting their adult lives, and settling into the college lifestyle. I was lonely without them to turn to as I always would.
I convinced myself I wasn’t a victim until the explicit pictures were found. I told my friends and family that I wasn’t a victim. I just told them how shocked I was that he would do this to someone. The friends that made jokes sent me pictures of the news and asked questions about the case. I couldn’t hide any longer. Everywhere I looked he was there.
Larry has caused so much damage that the gymnastics program at Michigan State was almost taken away from me and all the girls that have worked so hard to reach that point. To add on to all the other pain that he has brought on me, he almost took away my dream of college gymnastics.
I have peace in knowing that he will no longer be able to take away the dreams of young girls. This is the first time I have ever told my story. After sitting in this courtroom on my birthday on Tuesday and after looking Larry Nassar in the eyes, I have realized that I am now 19. I’m no longer the young girl on February 14, 2014, and I have found my strength. Larry Nassar used me at a time where I needed the most support. He kicked me while I was down so many times. He embarrassed me and will continue to embarrass me as long as his face is shown on the news, in the paper, and is even spoken of. He made me feel as if it was a privilege to be abused by him.
I will not hold a grudge for my pain because I am stronger than that, but I will hold a grudge for putting my loved ones through so much pain.
I will never forgive him for my friends feeling like I don’t trust them with no reason not to. I will never forgive him for my roommates having to hold me as I cry rather than enjoying their college experience. I will never forgive him for tearing down my teammates until they felt numb because they don’t have the strength or voice to tell their story.
I will never forgive him for my boyfriend being lied to when he asks if I’m okay. I will never forgive him for talking so badly about my club coaches because he felt threatened and knew that they should be hesitant of him.
I will never forgive him for using my mother’s stroke as a path to take advantage of her baby girl. I will never forgive him for my sister having to receive a call from her little sister saying that she was abused by a man for his own pleasure. I will never forgive him for making my brother see his older sister crying in her bed, not being able to say that it’s going to be okay, because he didn’t know if it would be.
I will never forgive him for my father not being able to have control over his little girl feeling safe and I will never, ever forgive him for making my family sit through and see his face again.
I hope that my statement will show others that we were all victims. My voice is no longer lost, so I am not speaking for only myself, I’m speaking for my teammates and for the people who have not found their strength quite yet and for the victims of this evilness in the future to know it is okay to speak up. The survivors have spoken and will speak and will grow and become stronger as he sits and rots in his cell.
We can’t go back in time and change what has happened so I ask that he will never be able to touch or even see a young girl ever again.
Larry, I don’t care if you’ve listened to anything I’ve just said or anything anyone has said, but I ask you to give me and everyone the respect for what I’m about to say. I don’t know what to say to you. You ruined everything. Your life, your family’s life, your kids are getting old enough to know what’s going on, and I pray that your loved ones, like my loved ones, find peace.
The worst part in all of this is that you have manipulated and brainwashed me so much that somehow I still feel bad for you, because you will never get to experience your children growing into strong people like me, or get married, or have kids of their own.
I hope that one day I will finally be able to find closure and realize that you do deserve this. You deserve to rot in a cell for the rest of your life.
My mom has always told me not to hate anyone in my life because it is the worst, most disrespectful thing you could say to someone. Well, Doctor Nassar, I hope you take this very personally. I hate you.
THE COURT: Thank you. That was wonderfully said. You started out by saying he took your voice away. Rest assured, you found your voice.
It’s strong. It’s a woman’s voice, and no one will take you down ever again.
And let me just tell you that you kicked him down with your words, did an awesome job with that. And it’s a privilege to have your words on this record and public so that all persons dealing with young people, incapacitated people, the elderly learn that they need to speak up and unite with your voice, not be kicked into silence. I think that’s your message today, and I’m really very proud of you. You should be proud of yourself. Your whole family, really, are survivors.
Your mom, looks like she recovered from her stroke. Your dad’s proud of you. Just being able to hug them, I didn’t see you flinch, and I know a lot of survivors have talked about flinching, so I think you’re on your way to recovery, and part of that is right here and part of that is letting me know what you think I should do to him, and I got that message loud and clear.
Thank you so much. You will be a success in everything you do. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This does not define you in any way. In fact, your words here in this court define you as a strong, remarkable woman. Thank you.
VICTIM 153: Thank you, Your Honor.