Aly Raisman lawsuit says USOC was 'aware at highest level' of Nassar abuse

Guardian sport
The Guardian
  • Lawsuit says USA Gymnastics also failed to protect athletes

  • Nassar jailed for abusing athletes under guise of medical care

<span class="element-image__caption">Aly Raisman facing Larry Nassar during his sentence hearing in January. </span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters</span>
Aly Raisman facing Larry Nassar during his sentence hearing in January. Photograph: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Aly Raisman has filed a lawsuit against the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics alleging the organisations failed to protect athletes from the serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar. The former USA Gymnastics team doctor was jailed earlier this year for abusing athletes under the guise of medical treatment.

Raisman, an Olympic gold medalist who Nassar abused during the London 2012 Games, was one of 265 women and girls who made criminal complaints against Nassar. Raisman said earlier this year USA Gymnastics told her “to be quiet” when she first reported the abuse.

According to the suit the USOC was “aware, at the highest levels of its organization, that Defendant Nassar had molested Olympic and National Team level gymnasts who participated with Defendant USAG.” Raisman says in the lawsuit that she suffers from anxiety and depression after the abuse.

Raisman’s fellow Olympic champions Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney say they were also abused by Nassar.

On Wednesday, the USOC chief executive, Scott Blackmun, stood down from his post for health reasons. The entire board of USA Gymnastics resigned following the Nassar scandal, as well as the president of Michigan State University, where the disgraced doctor worked.

In a statement on Friday, Raisman said the USOC and USA Gymnastics had failed in their duties.

“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,” she said. “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 also added concerns about gymnasts in the US. “Meanwhile, thousands of young athletes continue to train and compete every day in this same broken system. 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.”

Nassar was sentenced to up to 300 years in prison for his crimes, in addition to a 60-year term for possession of child abuse images.

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