Sexual assault allegations continue to hit the sports world and Maggie Nichols is the latest survivor to come forward.
The gymnast is one of more than a hundred women who’ve alleged that Larry Nassar, former doctor to USA Gymnastics, abused them.
Nichols has described herself as “Athlete A,” saying the abuse started when she was 15 at USA Gymnastics National Team camp at the Karolyi Ranch in 2015. What began as a treatment for a back injury morphed into him leading her to a training room, closing the blinds, and “touching me in places I really didn’t think he should. He didn’t have gloves on and he didn’t tell me what he was doing,” she said in an open letter. “His job was to care for our health and treat our injuries. Instead, he violated our innocence.”
She also recalls that Nassar would message her on Facebook, telling her how pretty she looked. She initially had reservations about the treatment, but chalked it up to him being nice. But she later brought up Nassar to one of her teammates. Her coach overheard her, and after a conversation, the coach decided to report it to team staff. Nichols said that USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee did not provide a safe environment, as she was still subjected to seeing Nassar at gymnastics meets.
After Nichols published her open letter, USA Gymnastics officials denied accusations that they tried to cover up the accusations against Nassar.
“The information that Maggie and later a second athlete provided was important, but did not provide reasonable suspicion that sexual abuse had occurred,” read part of the USA Gymnastics statement.
Aly Raisman, who also accused Nassar of sexual abuse, ripped USA Gymnastics on Twitter for victim blaming.
Nassar is currently serving 60 years in prison for child pornography, as victims continue to come forward.