Advertisement

Gold medalist sues U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics over Nassar abuse

"I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing."

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 03:  Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman attends the 2018 DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night Concert at NOMADIC LIVE! at The Armory on February 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for DirecTV)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 03: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman attends the 2018 DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night Concert at NOMADIC LIVE! at The Armory on February 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for DirecTV)

This week, three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics over their mishandling of serial predator Larry Nassar. Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor, sexually abused hundreds of people, including Raisman and many of her 2012 and 2016 Olympic teammates, under the guise of medical treatment over a period of more than 20 years.

During that period, he was the team doctor of four Olympic gymnastics teams, and a fixture at USA Gymnastics national team camps and competitions.

Nassar will be in prison for the rest of his life, serving a 60-year federal prison sentence for child pornography, with two other lengthy prison sentences on criminal child sex abuse convictions in Michigan waiting for him after that. But that’s not enough for Raisman.

In her lawsuit, Raisman says that the USOC and USAG “knew or should have known” about Nassar’s abuse.

In January, the entire USAG board of directors stepped down under pressure from the USOC amid increased public scrutiny stirred up by the 256 girls and women who provided victim impact statements at sentencing hearings for Nassar in Michigan. This week, former USOC president Scott Blackmun announced that he was resigning from his position due to his health, although many were advocating for him to resign due to his mishandling of the Nassar case. The USOC is conducting an independent investigation.

However, Raisman does not believe that the USAG and USOC are taking this seriously.

“It has become painfully clear that these organizations have no intention of properly addressing this problem. After all this time, they remain unwilling to conduct a full investigation, and without a solid understanding of how this happened, it is delusional to think sufficient changes can be implemented,” Raisman said in a statement to NBC News.

Advertisement

“I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing. It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed.”

Raisman’s suit is similar to the one filed by her Fierce Five teammate McKayla Maroney, who filed a lawsuit of her own against both organizations last December. Maroney says that USA Gymnastics paid her $1.25 million to keep quiet about years of sexual abuse by Nassar. In all, more than 100 civil suits have been filed by Nassar’s victims against USA Gymnastics and Nassar himself.

Both Raisman and Maroney have been vocal critics of the USOC and USAG, and have also been open about the depression and anxiety they have faced since the abuse.

“Since [the USOC and USAG] only care about medals, reputation, and money, if we were that successful while we were being molested, wouldn’t we have been more successful if we had the right doctor that actually helped?” Raisman said on CNN last month.