date of testimony: January 22th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
date of first abuse: January 2012
age at first abuse: 17
read by court official Ms Liddell
To Larry Nassar. In January of 2012 at 17 years old after four years of unrelenting back pain I was referred to you. I was hopeless, depressed, and ready to give up on my lifelong dream of dancing professionally. You were my last hope at finding a solution to my disabling problem.
The trauma from my experiences with you haunted me, and at the time I worked hard to bury away my feelings. Unfortunately, in light of your criminal trial I have been forced to experience this again. Not only have I been forced to visit that dark place of defeat, but new information has framed what happened in a new and even more disturbing light.
I remember first meeting you on that day in January. At this time I was barely walking and lacked the mobility that allowed me to do what I loved dance. During the 90 minute drive to Michigan State University I remember my mother asking me, what will you do if this doesn’t work? I recalled the last four years of needle sticking, physical therapy, medication, and various treatments all failing to relieve my pain and allowing me to dance. I watched my friends move with ease as I tried to struggle through the pain as a form of denial. My emotional and physical strength were drained. All I could reply was, no, I can’t anymore. I was ready to give up on a life that I and everyone else saw for myself since I was two.
When we arrived my father helped me out of the car. My mom held my hand all the way up the elevator. I sat between them in the MSU waiting room chair awaiting my fate. They called my name, and while my dad lifted me up, my mom grabbed my hand in support. We walk into the office and are immediately impressed by the walls covered in beautiful, young, accomplished, and strong athletic women, most of whom were Olympic gymnasts thanking you for your help.
You greeted us with a smile and handshake as any doctor would. Your confidence and quirky personality impressed me and comfortably made me smile. After hearing my story you got an x-ray that showed that my tailbone was badly inverted, so bad that it could snap soon. Hearing a diagnosis instantly gave me hope. Then you discussed the procedure where you were going to have to go inside me to fix this particular problem. You said, and I will never forget, most doctors are afraid to go into this area because they are not comfortable with working with younger females. We trusted you and agreed. I figured that nothing could be as painful as what I had already been through so I had nothing to lose. My family and I agreed.
You had me lie down on my stomach facing my parents covered in a sheet from the waist down. You put gloves on and then applied gel, just like you said you would. You entered me anally with your fingers. You said I would feel pressure as you pulled the bone back into place. However, before that you rubbed my clitoris for several seconds. You entered my vagina. You did not tell me you were going to be doing those things. I felt uncomfortable, especially as you stimulated my clitoris. However, the procedure was soon over and it was time for me to stand up.
For the first time in four years I stood and touched my toes. You then impressed me while giving me ballet terms like do a plie’, tendu, and battement. All of them I could do again. It felt like you performed a miracle. I will never forget that moment. After years of suffering I felt this weight lifted off of me. You opened my window of dreams back up. I could live in the world of dance again after four years of miserable living.
After that I returned in two weeks and returned for maintenance every few months over the next few years. My mother was present in the room for all of my appointments after the first one. I looked forward to seeing you. My family and I trusted you as my safety net every step of the way. I looked forward to the day I could put my picture on the wall, because that’s what all the other victims did. You put your success of the Olympic athletes, dancers, figure skaters, and rhythmic gymnasts on your wall.
You made it possible for me to move on to higher education dance. I felt so excited I could give you a college ad that my picture was featured on for your wall.
Because of you, I graduated from Marygrove College in 2016 and proudly walked across the stage as magna cum laude as well as outstanding dancer of the year. But in all the following visits you did the same things to my clitoris and vagina again and again.
I had been sexually active then so I was aware of where you were and the effect it created. I had always felt uneasy about it, but I was dancing again and that’s what I wanted more than anything so I figured you must be right and I should not say anything. After all, you made all those other girls on the wall feel better.
It was not until I heard in the news what I thought was impossible. How could my doctor who gave me my miracle be guilty of such accusations? At first I was on your side and I defended you. I did not believe the accusations, and even so, I did not feel it happened to me. I did not want to see myself as a victim. I did not want others to see me as a victim. What I didn’t know is that their stories were like mine, many of whom even had their parents watching too.
Recognizing your name, my sister sent me an article about him and the accusations. She told me the procedure was sexual assault masked as medicine, so I read the articles. I read the statements as they came out. I was forced to revisit my past. I kept going back to try and rationalize what I was told and what happened to me. I’m glad to know now from a trusted doctor who specializes in dance that one does not need to stimulate my clitoris in order to treat a tailbone or pelvic floor. You told me what you would do, but you went beyond that, right in front of my parents where I could not or would not say a word.
I regret not saying anything to my parents after the visit. I feel dumb, embarrassed even, for letting that happen to me without saying one word, but, again, I was dancing again so I said nothing.
Nowadays I feel an overwhelming sense of unease and discomfort with my body and myself. My brain is at work constantly about how to feel about you. I keep telling myself I do not have to feel anything about you. People know what you did to me and the other victims which embarrasses me. I’m devastated by a thought of looking my parents in the eye while you molested me. They asked themselves how they allowed this to happen while they were in the same room. We trusted you as a medical professional. We didn’t know any better. It has been mentally overwhelming for myself as well as my loved ones who surround me.
My heart goes out to all the other young ladies who have spoken up and those victims who have not. I hope they find peace in their lives and find comfort to know that there are consequences for your actions against us. I’m glad this is the end of your work and hope that no one falls victim to you again.
You are no longer a symbol of hope for me but a sad reminder that there are people with cruel and selfless intentions. My only relief is knowing that my picture is no longer on your wall at your Michigan State office.
THE COURT: She should be proud of making her statement. She is a brave warrior with her sister survivors, and I hope this statement gives her peace. Please send her my message. Thank you.