date of testimony: January 19th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age of abuse: 12
First off, thank you.
I would like to start off by saying, Larry, you say that your life is changed and that you’re sorry for your actions, but what you’re failing to realize is how your actions have affected us. You could sit there and ask for pity from everything you did but nobody is going to sit there and give it to you. I hope hearing all the victims inside ruins you. You better sit up straight, listen to what I have to say, and act like you’re somewhat remorseful for your actions.
It is hard to even know where to start. I can start with trust. I trusted you, Larry. I trusted you as an adult figure, a mentor, and someone who had good morals, especially someone coming from a medical background.
I was taught that doctors helped people, heal people, guide people, and are people that you can always trust. You ruined many things for me that I can never forgive you for. I trusted you with everything I told you and you took it — and you took it to your advantage because of my age and you used my body against me. A sorry can never fix the way that you made me feel, the nights I have had such bad anxiety that I would have panic attacks, or the amount of times that I have been around men and felt like one of them was going to harm me.
I shouldn’t have to feel anxious around men because of one man’s horrific choices. I can’t even sit in a room with men and feel normal. I can’t stand in an elevator with men and trust that one of them won’t try to harm me. I shouldn’t have to feel anxious around men because of you.
I was brainwashed by the pictures you had in your office. You have pictures of athletes from all over thanking you for being the doctor — thanking you for being their doctor and healing them. Little did I know there was a picture — all those pictures were just as much of a joke as you are.
I started frequently seeing you when I was 12 years old. 12 years old. We had built a relationship. My own mom had trusted you and had known you since she was a little girl. After knowing my own mother being there during all of the hardships and being around you since she was a little girl, I don’t know how you could do something like that. How could you do something so horrible to an innocent, young girl? You manipulated me into thinking you were a good guy and I could vent to you and let you heal me.
You spent hours with me at two or three times weekly. You came to Twistars after my two-a-day practices because you told me you were willing to do anything to help me not be in pain.
Shame on John for not protecting us inside our own gym, our home, and not giving us more supervision and checking on us to see what procedures and treatments you were actually giving us. Shame on John for still allowing us to see you outside of a gym when he banned you from coming into our gym. You and John clearly had a reputation that didn’t set boundaries, and he stood up for you.
You saying sorry doesn’t make up for everything you took away from me, my family, and all the other girls you assaulted. You have ruined a part of me that I’m afraid I’m never going to gain back.
To John Geddert. You were there for me through the bad and the good but what you did to me is always going to outweigh all the good moments. On numerous occasions you shouted terrible things at me, belittled me, hurt me, and ruined me as well. The sport I once loved I started to hate.
When I tore my Achilles during a mount you told me to stop being a fucking baby. You then proceeded to tell me to stop limping and continue competing no matter what the pain was. You then screamed at me and threw ice at me in front of all of the coaches.
Another time when I broke my knee inside of the gym, tore my hamstring, broke my tibia and fibula all at the same time, you sat there and screamed at me and called me a baby. You told me to get up and walk when my knee was broken.
Growing up without a father figure you were the closest thing that I had and you didn’t even allow me to stand up for myself because you belittled me to the point where I had no voice. I hope you know all the pain, illusive words, and your actions have hurt me and still manage to hurt me to this day. I still have never felt good enough because you made me feel weak and useless for so long.
You allowed me to stay at your home every Monday night and Wednesday night so my mom didn’t have to drive back after eight o’clock practice at night all the way to Grand Rapids and back again in the morning at seven a.m. for two-a-day practices. My mom being one of your friends, who you also coached, trusted you — trusted you to have my best interest at heart, but to this day I still don’t think you cared enough to have my best interest at heart. If you cared, you would have banned us from seeing Larry when you no longer allowed him to come inside of Twistars.
If there were accusations against him that were that bad where you banned him from our own gym, you would have stopped us from seeing him outside of the gym. This to me makes it seem like you cared more about your reputation than you did your own gymnasts.
To MSU, I was treated in your facilities where at times I was snuck in through the back doors of the athletic office because Larry did not want people to know that my insurance didn’t cover, but in reality, maybe it was just off the record so you could hurt me. You, as a recognized school in the Big Ten, have yet to make us victims feel okay.
As for USAG, you are the foundation of gymnastics. You out of everyone are supposed to be protecting all of us victims. Let me just say this, I am a victim. I was sexually assaulted, and you have no right to play victim and run away from these problems. You are timid and you need to face this reality. You failed to protect your athletes, and you need to take responsibility for what you have failed to do.
From here on out you will no longer interfere with my life, Larry. I will not let you take one more tear away from me. My thoughts go out to my friends and anyone else who is affected by your disgusting behavior. I will move forward one day, and I hope that day starts now.
As for my mom, I hope she can stop blaming herself for your monster — for a monster’s mistake and start healing as well. You, Larry, have made my mom’s life miserable, too, when she looked at you as a friend.
Mom, I love you, and you are not to blame because of Larry’s sick mind, but you and me will get together — will get through this together.
I also have a post that I wanted to share just that my mom shared on Facebook last night.
My daughter is not broken, but I feel as if I may be.
Words cannot express the pain and hurt we suffer as parents for not being able to protect our most precious assets, our children. I spent the last six months trying to work through my own feeling of failure while I support my daughter face to face for the sexual abuse at the hands of someone who was a trusted friend.
I first met Larry when I was 12 years old. Like everyone else, I thought he had my daughter’s best interest at heart. While I never faced the horror these women suffered, I am forced to confront my own failure as a mom, but I refuse to stop trying to move forward. We will heal. We will seek and have our justice.
Those who were in position to stop the abuse before Bayle was even born will face the consequences of their silence.
My daughter is strong and for her I am strong too.
This is my final statement to all the mothers and fathers out there who feel like they could have stopped this. You are not responsible. I hope as well as myself and the other victims you too can heal from this. We will stand together.
My mom has put the blame on herself for this past year and I want her to be able to heal as well. Not only do we support you, mom, they support me.
To all the moms, you did not fail us. Larry did.
Larry, you will never sexually assault me again or anyone else for that matter. Have fun in prison for the rest of your life where you’ll have no friends, your family won’t be by you, and you’ll be stuck behind bars for hopefully the rest of your life.
John Geddert, MSU, and USAG, you’re responsible for destroying the lives of innocent girls by the lack of your protection so now think of this every waking moment of your life. Eventually you will be held accountable for your actions and it will be brought up against you.
THE COURT: That was outstanding, for you and your mother. Would you like to place your mother’s name on the record, or not?
MS. PICKEL: Jennifer Swanlund.
THE COURT: Thank you. I think today you and your mother through both of your voices and all the voices of the survivors have moved forward. I hope you feel that way. I hope that you leave here with wings instead of the weights that you walked up to the podium with.
You should be very proud for speaking up. Your strong voice is making changes. You found your voice. You have a voice. You didn’t have a voice when you were a kid, but you have found it, and you weren’t expected to have a voice as a child.
People should have protected you. You should have been in a safe environment with a doctor, and your mother didn’t know. I know she would have protected you like all the other mothers. The guilt lies solely with defendant who has pled to it.
You’re not just good, you are great. You are fantastic. You are a role model. All of you are strong survivors, super women who are just going to turn the world around on this issue one voice at a time, and banded together you are unstoppable.
Thank you so much for being here.
MS. PICKEL: Thank you.