date of testimony: January 23th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
I want to start by saying thank you for having me, and I’m going to read a quote first. A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. I am not a victim, I am a survivor, and today’s the day I get to tell my story.
It has been hard for me to come to terms with all that has happened to me, but after seeing all these strong women, strong, brave women come out and speak it has given me the strength to come here today.
The first time I saw Larry was on a Monday night at the gym. Every Monday he would come to the gym and everyone was always so happy to see him. All the girls loved Larry and trusted him. Well, not anymore. Everyone is disgusted that Larry was ever in our lives.
Eventually as I got to higher levels I started to see Larry more frequently. My first visits were very quick and easy and nothing ever happened. He was gaining our trust.
As my injuries became bigger and I was in more pain, I had to see Larry more often. This is when it all started. One of my legs is shorter than the other so my back was always out of place or my leg would get jammed. I would go see Larry to get treatment. I would always bring shorts because he couldn’t adjust me with my pants on. If I didn’t bring anything — I didn’t bring shorts, he would have shorts for me to put on, and he would give me his daughter’s shorts to wear.
Well, my young, innocent self would never have thought that the reason I had to wear shorts was so that these horrible things could happen to me.
All I ever wanted to do was feel better. I didn’t know what was happening was wrong at the time because it was happening to all the girls who saw him. No matter what type of shorts I wore, even if they were tight, he still found a way to get inside of me.
During one of my appointments he asked me if I had started my period. I was confused why a grown man would ask me this. Once I told him, no, he replied, well, if it ever started, let me know and I’ll stop. I was distraught by what he said, and it never did any good. I never told anyone because I just thought it was normal treatment that was done to everyone, but my young self was wrong.
When the first news article came out I didn’t believe it. I still believed the treatments were to help me, not hurt me. My family believed him. We were all fooled by him. Larry was trying to run for school board president. It makes — it all makes sense why he was doing it. He just wanted to gain more access to young children. It makes me sick.
Larry would see me, us, all day, any day so that he could have all access to us. He would even see us on holidays.
As more stories came out I began to realize things were not right. We all lost trust in Larry. I began to get depressed and everyone saw it. My parents asked me if I wanted to see a therapist and I wouldn’t. I didn’t want to face the truth. Well, here I am today facing the truth to you. I couldn’t believe that you could do this to so many people for so many years and think it was okay. Why? Why did you do this?
Can I address the defendant, please?
You, Larry, are the reason why if a boy tries to talk to me or if a man I’ve never been around is in the same room I get red in the face or freak out inside. I try to act as if I’m okay when I’m not.
All I ever wanted to do was feel better and go back to the sport I was — I loved without any pain. You took advantage of me. You took advantage of all of us. You made us believe that you actually cared about us. You talked about us like you were our friend. You were never our friend.
All of this will — everything that you did was not okay. All of this time I thought if I just kept it inside all the feelings would go away, but they never did.
You ruined me so many — you ruined so many lives and so many families. I can’t believe that someone I thought was so nice and cared about me could do this.
Oh, and your heart condition? First, you have to have a heart to have one. You don’t have one. It is nothing compared to all of us girls who are now mentally and emotionally scarred for the rest of our lives.
I am a strong woman, and I am still a gymnast and I’m going to be a collegiate gymnast. I will never let this break me. I am strong. You, Larry, are a disgrace of a human being and I cannot believe I ever trusted you, and I will never forgive you. I’m happy you will be spending the rest of your life in prison. Enjoy hell, by the way. May you get everything you deserve and more. Thank you.
THE COURT: Ma’am, you are one of those strong sister survivors, part of that army, and I want you to leave the scars here. You did nothing wrong. He did, and he should be nervous now. He should be nervous of his own mind. He’s going to rerun all of your voices all day every day. It’s impossible to block out the army of strong female voices and what you’ve confronted him on.
Seriously, ma’am, when you turn around and go to your seat and you leave this courthouse, we have people who clean the courthouse, leave the scars here, drop them. See, you’re already happier. I can see. I can see you just uplifted. This has even further strengthened the strength that you’re finding, and so I want those scars here. Can you promise me?
MS. HYLEK: Good.
THE COURT: I’m army so how about a stronger yes?
MS. HYLEK: Yes.
THE COURT: Yes, ma’am. Thank you.