Gymnasts testify against Larry Nassar in sexual assault case


US Women’s National gymnasts Simone Biles (left) and Aly Raisman (right) were among the victims who testified against Larry Nassar. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Maia Echols, The Carroll News

Larry Nassar, former doctor of the United States national gymnastics team, was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 girls, according to IndyStar. Before he was convicted of possession of child pornography and sexual assault, Nassar was an assistant professor at Michigan State University, and he later became the team doctor for the United States women’s national gymnastics team in 1986.

As the team doctor, Nassar exploited his close contact with hundreds of girls. He would later be accused of sexually assaulting at least 265 of them. In 2017, three survivors approached the witness stand and spoke out against Larry Nassar and his crimes. Their names are Mckayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols. Nassar was fired from Michigan State after the university became aware of the allegations. Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles also spoke out in 2018 about Nassar assaulting her. “I was like super depressed,” she said in a “Simone vs. Herself” episode, “I didn’t want to leave my room, and I didn’t want to go anywhere. I kind of just shut everybody out. I don’t know, it was probably hard for me.”

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 175 years in prison for his crimes. Her sentencing was not the end, however, as, after the sentencing, she told Nassar, “It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. Because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison again…. I just signed your death warrant,” Aquilina stated, according to CNN.

On Sept. 15, 2021, a Senate hearing commenced over Nassar’s numerous allegations and the FBI’s failure to address them. Simone Biles, Mckayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols spoke at the hearing. Biles testified, “to be clear, I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse. USA gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic committee knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge.” According to CNN, FBI officials had violated many of the FBI policies and made numerous errors when investigating this case. 

Sexual assault is a rising problem in the United States. According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, one in every six women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives; an American is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds, also according to RAINN.