date of testimony: January 23th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age at first abuse: 15
statement read by court official Ms Liddell
I spoke with my mom last night. She is broken and blames herself. The incredible woman who sacrificed her life so I could achieve my dreams blames herself. She blames herself for not knowing there was a monster employed by USA Gymnastics. My beloved mother blames herself for not being there.
When USAG, MSU, and the Olympic Committee allowed a serial predator to have free reign over its athletes, my mother is the one who blames herself.
You did not only ruin me and change the trajectory of my life in an irreparable way, Mr. Nassar, not only did you violate a 15 year old who embodied the utmost innocence, you ruined my family. They sacrificed everything — everything to make my dreams come true.
You are the one that promised to fix the excruciating pain in my hips. You are the one that my USA Gymnastics superiors told me to go see. They bought the ticket for me to go to a secluded ranch where my parents were not allowed. They made me feel like it was an honor to see you.
Thanks to USA Gymnastics there was not a soul there who may have protected me from you. As a result of your abominable actions, my family has had to watch me deteriorate. They were helpless as the long term effects of what you did to me that week when I was just 15 years old took hold of my life.
For years I cut myself off. For years I bled. For years the anxiety was crippling. For years I threw up. For years I subjected myself to abusive relationships all the while believing I did not deserve better. For the majority of my adult life I wanted to die and thought seriously about suicide. It is only by the grace of God that I am able to tell you today that you have not won.
The voices of all the little girls you so casually destroyed are rising up and now we are loud enough for everyone to hear. Because of the tenacious courage that your victims have shown, I now know we are strong and believe with all my heart that we will thrive despite your best efforts to violently harm us.
And to everyone involved in this travesty, USA Gymnastics, MSU, the Olympic Committee, you deserve to face justice just as much as Mr. Nassar. You betrayed the implicit trust of young girls, took advantage of their dreams, and deceived their families. May true justice find you for your reprehensible actions. Thank you. Three time national champion, Jessica Howard.
THE COURT: And with those words she’s a four time national champion. I heard her and I’m very proud that she’s part of the strong, risen voices that she talks about. It is an honor that she’s come forward, and I will consider her words at sentencing. She represents the best as do all of the sister survivors.