date of testimony: January 23th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age of first abuse: 15
statement ready by her parent Dawn and Marty Valley
This is a letter that Morgan wanted to write and tell her story and we’re just reading it for her.
I am a former victim of Larry Nassar, now survivor. I was not a gymnast at the time of my assaults, though I was a gymnast for years prior. I was 15 turning 16 when he assaulted me. I’m now 20 years old, and according to MSU, he was under investigation during the time he assaulted me. There was not a nurse present in the room. I was not informed that he was even under investigation.
I was just starting my sophomore year of high school and I was on the varsity volleyball team. I started to suffer severe back pain, made it very hard for me to play the sport that I loved. My younger sister went to Twistars in the past and Doctor Nassar had helped her with some medical problems that she had from gymnastics. My mom made me an appointment with Doctor Nassar in hopes that he would be able to help me and my back pain.
On the way to my first appointment my mom told me about this famous doctor and how well known he was, and after hearing these things I felt like I was lucky and fortunate to have — to get a chance to be treated by the Doctor Nassar.
The first appointment was for me explaining to him my back pain, took x-rays, and looking back at that appointment now it was also a chance for him to see that I was a perfect candidate for him to take advantage of. I guess that’s what he decided that I was.
The second appointment he showed me that I had an extra vertebrae near my tailbone and that once I got older my hips would widen and the pain would go away but for now he would do everything he could to help relieve my pain.
I remember vividly the exact moment he assaulted me. I was laying on one of the tables in his room wearing nothing but a towel over my back. He started on the outside of my body massaging my hips and pretending like he was moving my pelvis. What happened next I will never forget. He pushed his fingers inside me without gloves, lubrication, without informing me or my mom about what he was going to do. The instant it happened I looked quickly at my mom. My face was burning up. It felt so hot and there were tears forming in my eyes, but my mom reassuredly smiled back at me which to me was an indication that what he was doing and what was happening to me was okay. If my mom didn’t say anything about it, then why would I say anything?
After these appointments happened a couple more times I stopped coming to see him. Volleyball season was over and I got distracted by other things in life. But that summer I became severely depressed and suicidal. A psychiatrist suggested I become a patient at a mental hospital. I have always been a shy and quiet girl but quietness had turned into insecurity, panic, and anxiety, and I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. No one was exactly sure why.
Years later after fighting hard and overcoming lots of battles the first story came out about what had happened to Rachael, and as I was reading it it sounded so familiar. When I was able to read the story to my mom she was in disbelief and I was too. How could such a kind and funny man do this? After we talked through Rachael’s story I said to her, you know that happened to me too, right? And to my surprise, my mom had no idea. This whole time I had no idea that my mom didn’t know, and the whole time I had not been able to stand up for myself. I had been suffering when I shouldn’t have been.
This so-called doctor took advantage of me and who I was. He took advantage of my pain and my innocence. He deserves the maximum sentence. He deserves to be locked in a cell without any cellmates, without any human contact for the rest of his life.
I am continually reminded that God will forgive us always, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t suffer the earthly consequences. If Larry is truly a follower of Christ as he says and has repented, he knows, as I do, that he is forgiven but he still has these consequences. The first woman to come forward and make a claim about Doctor Nassar was in 1997, and that’s the year that I was born, so for my entire life he’s been abusing girls and I was unfortunate enough to add to his body count. But no one stopped him.
I know that God uses the worst situations and can turn them to good, as he will do here. We are survivors. We are here to make sure this will never happen again. We are here to make change and we are here to be remembered as we will be.
Dad, did you wish to say something?
MR. VALLEY: I know we’re not the only parents that feel this way. We’re overcome by anger and guilt for not protecting our beautiful, precious daughter, and as difficult as it is for us as parents, we know it is nothing compared to what these young women are going through, and we’re so grateful for them to take the stand and let their voices be heard.
We do want to forgive Doctor Nassar as God has forgiven us, but this makes it all the more important that MSU and the people that allowed this to happen be held accountable.
THE COURT: Thank you.
MRS. VALLEY: Thank you.
THE COURT: And you know, as I’ve said to so many parents, you have nothing to feel guilty about. He’s the guilty one. You didn’t know. He did it. He was a mastermind at hiding it. In the legal business we call it plan, scheme, design, and he certainly had one, and we have heard it over and over and over again.
And I applaud your daughter’s strength. I know she doesn’t always feel strong, but she really is strong. If she wrote that letter, she’s healing, and I want her to know that she needs to keep talking, that depression, that suicide, self harm, all of these things many of the sister survivors have talked about, is not the answer. Her voice will help heal her and countless women, and I think that’s why she sent you here, not just to start her healing in a unique and different way but to help all others, so she is to be commended, and I have heard her words and yours and I’ve seen your suffering. I will clearly take that into consideration, and I know somewhere he has heard it too. Thank you for being here.
MR. VALLEY: Thank you.