Former U.S. National Team gymnast Maggie Nichols says she was abused by Nassar
Another renowned gymnast has stepped forward as a victim of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
Maggie Nichols, a former member of the U.S. National Gymnastics team, released a statement Tuesday morning saying she was, like many of her former teammates, sexually abused by Nassar.
According to Nichols' statement, "His job was to care for our health and treat our injuries. Instead, he violated our innocence."
Nichols was identified as "Athlete A" by USA Gymnastics and MSU in litigation. Nichols and her coach reported Nassar's abuse to USA Gymnastics in the summer of 2015, according to the statement.
"I want everyone to know that he did not do this to Athlete A, he did it to Maggie Nichols," her statement read.
Nichols initially trusted Nassar, who was "regarded throughout the sport as the very best by coaches and staff," according to the statement. However, when she was 15, Nassar began touching Nichols in places she "really didn't think he should," without gloves and in rooms with no one else present.
"Not only was Larry Nassar my doctor, I thought he was my friend," Nichols said in her statement. "He contacted me on Facebook complimenting me and telling me how beautiful I looked on numerous occasions. But I was only 15 and I just thought he was trying to be nice to me. Now I believe this was part of the grooming process I recently learned about."
Nichols accused USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee of failing to provide a safe environment for her and her teammates. Nichols also said MSU had, through negligence, played a role in her abuse.
"I later found out that Michigan State University had ignored complaints against Larry Nassar from other girls going back 20 years and had investigated him for sexual assault in 2014," Nichols' statement read. "They never told USA Gymnastics. If they had, I might never have met Larry Nassar and I would never have been abused by him."
Former Olympians McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, also former teammates of Nichols, have come forward as victims of Nassar.
Nichols' full statement can be read here.
Nassar is accused of sexually abusing more than 140 women and girls, ranging from local gymnasts to Olympic athletes, under the guise of medical treatment.
He was arrested in December 2016 on charges of possessing “at least 37,000” images of child pornography, to which he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the receipt, possession and destruction of child pornography.
Nassar pleaded guilty to a total of 10 first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges in November 2017 — seven in Ingham County and three in Eaton County. His sentencing for each of these charges could range from a minimum of 25-40 years to life in prison. The Ingham County sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 16 and the Eaton County sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 31.
Nassar is also a defendant in federal civil lawsuits, all of which also list MSU, MSU's Board of Trustees and USA Gymnastics as defendants.