On the eve of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s sentencing for sexually abusing girls in his care, American gymnast Simone Biles has come forward to say me, too.
“I, too, am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” the Olympian said Monday afternoon in a Twitter post with the hashtag #MeToo.
“There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now that it is not my fault.”
Biles is the latest member of the “Fierce Five” 2012 US gymnastics team to speak out against Nassar. Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney have said he abused them.
“After hearing the brave stories of my friends and other survivors, I know that this horrific experience does not define me,” she said.
“For far too long I’ve asked myself ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answer to those questions. No. No. It was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others.”
The basic facts of Nassar’s case illustrate the impetus behind the #MeToo movement. Scores of women say they were abused by a respected man and then pressured into silence by powerful institutions.
Nassar was the team doctor for USA Gymnastics through four Olympic Games, treating hopeful young gymnasts and gold medal winners alike. As the national governing body of gymnastics in America, USA Gymnastics is responsible for selecting the national team and training young, promising athletes.
Nassar worked at Michigan State University from 1997 to 2016 as an associate professor, and he served as the gymnastics and women’s crew team physician. Under the guise of providing medically necessary treatment, Nassar abused many of his patients. He admitted in court to inappropriately touching patients in cases going back as far as 1998 — including girls under age 13.
Nassar pleaded guilty in November to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct and admitted that he used his position as a trusted medical professional to sexually abuse young girls. His sentencing begins Tuesday, and several days have been set aside to hear from up to 125 victims or their parents.