My anger is not limited to Larry Nassar. I am frustrated with those who should have been protecting us. We were merely kids. We were scared, and we didn't have a voice.
date of testimony: January 23th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age at first abuse:
statement read by court offical Ms Liddell
Victim 178. Thank you to the Honorable Rosemarie Aquilina, Ingham, for giving an opportunity to all who want to share their voice to those hearing.
As many children do, I participated in a couple of sports but at age eight I knew gymnastics had captured my heart. It was then gymnastics became my sport. The nature of knowing if the skill was executed properly appealed to me. The performance of the skill is either right or wrong. The actions of Larry Nassar were not only wrong but also reprehensible.
What is difficult for me to understand is why it took so long for so many involved in this sport, a sport that analyzes each moment of a routine, to analyze this and end this obviously wrong practice.
When I made the U.S. National team I thought I was about to begin the most rewarding years of my gymnastics career. Little did I know I was going to spend the next few years scared and horribly abused.
Larry was at several of the camps I attended, particularly selection camps. At one of these camps was the first time of many times that I was subjected to his invasive treatment.
One of my biggest assignments turned out to be my biggest nightmare. I dealt with severe shin splints and hurt my hamstring, both of which Nassar used his so-called treatment. The next year I hurt my foot again and went to Nassar for treatment. He said it would take the pain away, but his treatments never did.
I had a gut feeling that what Larry Nassar was doing was wrong and was not true medical treatment. As terrified as I was, I found my voice and asked him if he could not use that method anymore because it made me feel uncomfortable.
I continued to see Larry as we all were required to. He used his repulsive method a couple more times on me but for the most part it ceased. However, the damage was already done.
My anger is not limited to Larry Nassar. I am frustrated with those who should have been protecting us. We were merely kids. We were scared, and we didn’t have a voice.
USAG mandates that parents aren’t allowed to attend camps held at the Koralyi Ranch, a secluded location with limited cell surface which helped give Nassar the environment he needed to fulfill his sick perversion. He was an adult male conducting treatments alone on teenage girls. Where were the customary attendance of a female during these examinations? The team’s athletic trainer, Debbie Van Horn, would frequently leave the room when Nassar was conducting his treatments saying she was going to a meal, to bed, or such. Other times she would turn a blind eye and pretend not to notice what was going on just a few feet away.
Almost three years ago I was overheard discussing with other gymnasts how Nassar’s treatments made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I did not know this conversation was being overheard but an adult had reported and I was supposed to be contacted. I never was. About two years later USAG attempted to follow up. This was just another sign that USAG wasn’t interested in confronting the Nassar issues nor were the athletes their priority.
I devoted my entire life to this sport and made every sacrifice to be able to represent my country, and in the end not only did USAG not protect me but they did not even try to help me once they knew.
After hearing statements from the many who suffered because of his treatment, I realized Larry Nassar has been abusing young women under the guise of treatment for many years. I hope this court will give him the maximum sentence, and I know in the end he will answer to an even higher judgment.
To Larry, you violated my body but you will never affect my mind or spirit. The stories of others who have moved past your shameful brand of medicine inspires me. This is something that will be with me forever, but I will not let it limit me.
This will make me stronger as I move into and beyond the light of recovery. Because, Larry Nassar, you put me through hell but you will never kill the light inside of me.
I won’t give you that kind of power.
THE COURT: Thank you. Victim 178, if you’re listening, you are also an inspiration to others. Talking about what you phrase as reprehensible acts, which they are, will help others to heal and to recognize what’s happened. Your words, the strength that you have in them will provide the reward of healing and change and I hope help the nightmares go away for yourself and for countless others. We know we haven’t heard from everyone. Your voice protects others. I’ve heard it, and I will consider it at sentencing. Thank you.