WOMEN
01/18/2018 04:52 pm ET

Olympian McKayla Maroney On Larry Nassar: 'He Abused My Trust. He Abused My Body.'

A prosecutor read the gymnast's powerful victim impact statement in court on Thursday.

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney made a powerful statement Thursday morning during the sentence hearing of former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor Larry Nassar.

Maroney, who alleged in October that Nassar began sexually abusing her when she was 13, was not in court. Michigan state Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis read the gymnast’s victim impact statement as a photo of Maroney at the 2012 Summer Olympics hung behind her. 

Maroney, 21, wrote about starting gymnastics when she was 18 months old and entering her first competition when she was 7. She said making the U.S. National Team at 14 was “remarkable and amazing,” but that it came with a price. 

“I was told to trust [Nassar], that he would treat my injuries and make it possible for me to achieve my Olympic dreams,” the statement said. “Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving ‘medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.’ As it turns out, much to my demise, Dr. Nassar was not a doctor, he in fact is, was, and forever shall be, a child molester, a monster of a human being. End of story.”

More than 140 women ― including Maroney’s former teammates Aly RaismanGabby Douglas and Simone Biles ― have accused Nassar of molesting them. Nassar pleaded guilty in November to 10 counts of first-degree sexual misconduct.

If Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee had paid attention to any of the red flags in Larry Nassar’s behavior, I never would have met him, I never would have been ‘treated’ by him, I never would have been abused by him. McKayla Maroney

“He abused my trust. He abused my body and he left scars on my psyche that may never go away,” Povilaitis read from Maroney’s statement. 

“For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old,” she continued. “I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo. He’d given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a ‘treatment.’ I thought I was going to die that night.” 

She wrote that Nassar also abused her twice while she was competing in the 2012 Olympics.

Maroney called for several organizations to be held accountable for allowing the abuse to go on for so long. 

“A simple fact is this: If Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee had paid attention to any of the red flags in Larry Nassar’s behavior, I never would have met him, I never would have been ‘treated’ by him, I never would have been abused by him,” she said. 

Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis reads Maroney's victim impact statement during Larry Nassar's sentence hearing on Thursday.&nbsp
Brendan McDermid / Reuters
Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis reads Maroney's victim impact statement during Larry Nassar's sentence hearing on Thursday. 

The statement ended on a strong note: “Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it’s time to take our power back.”

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said she hoped Maroney and her mother were watching a livestream of the court proceedings.  

“Thank you, McKayla. I think you have just taken your power back along with your sister survivors,” she said. “Your voice for change and accountability is being heard.” 

The sentencing hearing for Nassar began Tuesday and is set to run through Monday. Povilaitis said 105 victims and their family members are scheduled to read impact statements throughout the hearing. Nassar is already serving a 60-year sentence on child pornography charges. 

Maroney signed a confidentiality agreement with USA Gymnastics in December 2016, as part of a $1.25 million settlement that required her to keep quiet her allegations against Nassar. She violated that agreement when she tweeted about the abuse last fall, which opened her to the possibility of having to pay steep fines. Model Chrissy Teigen recently said she would be “absolutely honored” to pay those fines. However, USA Gymnastics released a statement saying the organization “[would] not seek any money” from Maroney if she spoke during Nassar’s hearing. 

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