date of testimony: January 23th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age of first abuse: 12
Well, I would like to start off by thanking you, Your Honor, for allowing me to speak, and thank you for all the strong women who have spoken before me. They’ve given me the strength to come forward and to let my voice be heard. I was really apprehensive to come forward at first because I did not want to be labeled as one of Larry Nassar’s victims, but after watching all these powerful women speak, I realized we are not victims. We are warriors who stand and fight. I did not want to be hidden in the shadow as an anonymous victim. I want to be a warrior who helped put an end to this type of abuse.
My story starts off exactly the same as everyone else’s. I was a gymnast and I sustained an injury. However, mine was a foot injury. I was recommended to go see Larry by my gymnastic’s coach because Larry was supposed to be God’s gift to gymnastic injuries. My mom and I were so pleased to have been able to get into his office. Even though it was an hour and a half drive from my hometown, we were willing to make the drive to see the gymnastics doctor we hoped would get me back in the gym.
After seeing him for a consult my treatment would begin. My mom would be with me in the room, but, as like so many others, she was sitting in a position that could not see as Larry’s back was to her.
During these treatments he would slip his fingers into my vagina. As a tiny 12 — as my tiny 12 year old body would tighten up, he would tell me to relax while closing his eyes. He was getting pleasure from this. At my age I was unaware that’s what he was doing. I was young and innocent, and I had always been told you can trust doctors because they had taken an oath to do no harm. However, Larry did harm to me and many more innocent young girls.
I remember a time when my dad came to one of these treatments. My dad was a detective and is a retired police officer. My dad asked many questions, and after the treatment was over my father still thought something was sketchy, but my mom would always say things like, he’s supposed to be the best, and my dad would say things like, something is not quite right, or, I still don’t trust his technique, it’s just my cop instinct, and my dad was right the entire time.
My parents are also having to deal with feelings that they didn’t do their job to protect me. They feel shame that they were in the room sitting there as my protector while I was being violated.
After all the treatments Larry still told me that I would never be able to do gymnastics again. I had to quit gymnastics, the sport that was my true love. I was devastated, as were my parents, to have to break up with something I cared so much about.
It’s terrible what he did to me and to everyone else but I am so grateful to have such a strong team of women behind me who went through the exact same thing and to have the constant support and love I have from my parents. I was a victim of Larry Nassar but I will not let that define me. I am strong. I will go on and live the life I plan to live. We can all take our lives back knowing that you, Larry, will never be able to put your hands on an innocent young girl again.
Thank you, Your Honor, for allowing me to speak.
THE COURT: Thank you. No one should feel shame, and I’m sure that as bad as you feel, your father being in law enforcement feels worse, I can see it on his face, but it’s not his fault either.
It’s not your mother’s fault. The blame lies solely with defendant, and you just drop it all right here. You are warriors who stand and fight. Let me just tell you that you and the rest of your sister warriors have some of the strongest DNA made of super women steel, and your voice carries on to so many other women and victims who need that kind of strength, so survivorship — everybody being a survivor now — sends a message of strength to — and, why this? I know you know it. I know your dad’s told you this, so many who can’t come forward, who never report, who never find the strength — the numbers are astonishing — so you’re that role model, and what you’ve said is echoed by a lot of people who can’t come here and actually speak, so I thank you for your strength and your family’s strength.
MS. BERGERON: Thank you.