date of testimony: January 22th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age of abuse: 13-18 (2009-2014)
I don’t even know where to begin as I’ve only recently allowed myself to begin the process of what happened. I no longer know how to address this man. He is not a doctor as he has done more harm than he has good. He is not my friend so I will not call him Larry, and he’s certainly not a man so I cannot call him Mr. Nassar. He is just a monster.
He is a monster that I saw repeatedly over the course of my gymnastics career. The first time I went to get treated by him I was only 13, and going in I already had the utmost respect for him as he came highly recommended and had an amazing reputation. That’s the thing, though, reputations can be deceiving, and his most certainly was.
I was 13 in 2009 and I continued to see him into my college gymnastics career in 2014. What is scary, though, is besides the first two encounters with him, I can hardly remember them. I try again and again. I dig and I dig but it is blank. I can’t find them. I can’t remember, but I do remember the first time.
I remember having to change into loose shorts which seemed reasonable since I needed my calves worked on. I remember being covered up by a towel. I remember him destroying my calves as tears fell from my eyes because they were so tight, and then I recall him saying that he was going to try and relieve the pain a little by pushing on some pressure points on my butt. This seemed reasonable as well, but that isn’t what he did. Next thing I knew he was using — his bear fingers were in me, but the best part of this I remember, my terminally ill dad sitting in a chair across the room trusting this doctor who claimed he was fixing me. This monster even had the audacity to ask me if the pain in my calves was lessened. And let me tell you something, it was, but because — not because the treatment worked. Not because the treatment was a real medical procedure. No. It worked because I was confused.
It worked because I was scared, and it worked because I was completely uncomfortable. It worked because I couldn’t imagine what my dad, who was sitting on just on the other side of the room, would do and think if he knew what was happening.
It lasted a while as he did it the entire time he worked on my calves, and as I went to leave he offered me Olympic pins as to say, hey, look at me, I’m awesome, don’t question me, which in turn is what I did. How could what just happened be wrong if he was so casually talking to my dad and I the entire time? How could he be so nice and have such a good reputation? There was no way I was the only one he had done this to, so if I thought it was wrong, then clearly I must be the crazy one. A doctor wouldn’t hurt me, right? Wrong.
I couldn’t tell my dad what had just happened. I was 13 and not entirely sure what just happened myself. Plus, he was my dad. Worse yet, I didn’t have a mom to go home to tell either.
I kept to myself for years. I pushed my gut feeling away that something was wrong time and time again. My dad died, and that’s who you have a picture of. January 30, 2017, after fighting a very rare heart virus for many more years than he was expecting to be able to, he died without knowing that I was assaulted by this man. And worse yet, he died thinking that people were tainting his reputation — reputation and career as he could not possibly believe that someone so helpful with his own child could do such a thing, and I didn’t tell him otherwise. I couldn’t tell him otherwise.
He would have hated himself so. He would have died with so much guilt. So instead I kept it to myself, and here I am, almost a year after my dad’s passing. I should be grieving the death of my dad, the death of my best friend in the entire world, the death of my hero, but instead I am grieving and feeling guilty that I lied to my dad for so long, that I kept this a secret from him.
Some times I feel guilty when I hear these other women and girls speak. I feel guilty that I can’t remember all my visits with him, but even though I can’t put detail to most other visits I had, I do know that I was rarely comfortable with the treatments I was getting. I never felt safe, and every day I suffered just as they do.
I have been depressed for as long as I can remember. I have been anxious all the time and rarely — and I mean rarely — enjoy life.
Someone asked me not too long ago when is last time I was happy was, to tell them a story about the last time I was truly happy and had fun. I couldn’t. Life is a chore. Life is a constant fight. I don’t trust anyone, and I am never comfortable. I keep my feelings to myself because for so long I thought I had to.
I can’t do intimate relationships because even the thought of trying to have one makes me cringe. I cringe when a sexual joke is told. I cringe trying to say words even related. My relationship with my hero, best friend, and dad was damaged as I was never honest, and every day I feel guilty for that, and I am mad.
But here is the thing, I am not mad for me. I am mad for my dad. I am mad that this monster took advantage of my dad’s trust, that he pretended to be his friend, and that he knew my dad was dying and always asked about how my dad was saying he was inspirational, all along knowing my dad admired his dedication to his career, and my dad had no idea that he manipulated and destroyed the lives of not only many girls but my dad’s own daughter as well.
If I may, I would like to address the defendant now.
What you have done is despicable. What you have done you can never erase.
I found a little bit of peace knowing that the rest of your life all you’ll be doing is rotting, but I find more peace knowing one day you are going to die, and when you do, your pain will not subside.
I believe in God and I do believe he forgives, but I believe you are past the point of forgiveness. When you die you’re going to hell but there will be a pit stop on the way where you’ll have to face my dad who now knows exactly what you have done. You will have to face the strongest, biggest hearted, and most inspirational man that I have ever known to live, and when you do, you will suffer as you know everything I have just said is true.
Sometimes I wonder if you even remember the first time and what you did, but, then again, it doesn’t matter. I remember. I know and now my dad and the world does as well.
This sad excuse for a man is not the only one who is to blame for all of this, though. Everyone who knew and hid it, everyone who continued to allow this man knowing full well what he was doing is to blame. MSU, USAG, and any staff member of Twistars or any other facility that had the knowledge of or even heard rumors that should have been investigated are all to blame. They knew and tried to save their own instead of the lives that were destroyed for way too many girls. One is too many, and I’m sure there were thousands.
I hope one day to find happiness in life.
I hope one day to be able to be comfortable enough with someone to be intimate with them as more than anything in this life I want kids and family. I’m terrified every day that it won’t happen because I struggle not only to find my worth but to find that anyone will treat me like I am worthy, but I am here today to try to take the first step in healing, to allow myself a chance to beat this and live a happy, semi-normal life. I’m here to tell him that my dad will be waiting, and to say thank you to those who are around in my life, always standing by my side no matter how hard I try to push them away because of the fear they too will disappoint me with even the slightest bit of trust I put in them. Thank you.
THE COURT: I am so very sorry about the loss of your father, your best friend. No one should lose a parent as young as you.
But you need to know that you are no longer scared. You’re no longer confused. Your words resound here with your sister survivors and in the world. You have strength and courage, and I know that your dad is here. He’s proud of you, and his love did not die with him. It lives on in you, and you are connected with him forever by love and strength, and you’ve honored him by speaking out. That’s what you’ve done. You’ve never disappointed your father. He’s here standing with you, hugging you. I know it. I feel it. I see it. I promise you, he is more proud of you than ever before in your whole life, and you need — because all of you survivors need this, but you need to understand you have nothing to feel guilty about. Telling us your thoughts, what you’ve been feeling empowers you and countless other children who haven’t been able to come forward.
Your message is immeasurably strong and vivid and loud. You are worthy. Never think you are not worthy. If you forget it, mom, bring her here and I’ll remind her.
MRS. LIVINGSTON: Yes, ma’am.
THE COURT: Leave your woes here. Leave all those negative things here with defendant. I will sentence him accordingly, but you need to be tall and strong and courageous every day like you have been just now. I’m honored you were here, and we all applaud you. Thank you.
MS. LIVINGSTON: Thank you.