Gymnast McKayla Maroney filed a lawsuit against the US Olympic Committee Wednesday, claiming they paid her money to keep silent about the sexual abuse she endured from Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar.
The lawsuit says Maroney lost out on millions of dollars because the sexual abuse drove her away from the sport and seeks damages from the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
Maroney said the abuse started when she was 13 and continued until she retired from gymnastics. She claimed Nassar would always try to find a chance to “treat” her.
According to the lawsuit, the committee paid her a settlement and asked her to sign a confidentiality agreement in December 2016, three months after Nassar was accused of sexual abuse. Maroney accepted the settlement “after suffering for years from psychological trauma of her sexual abuse at the hands of Nassar” and “in need of funds to pay for psychological treatment for her worsening psychological condition.”
Maroney’s attorney, John Manly, said the confidentiality agreement she was made to sign was hypocritical, immoral and illegal.
“Those responsible for this should be removed from the Olympic movement and USA Gymnastics,” Manly told NBC News. “If they would treat one of the most famous athletes in world like this, how poorly would they treat a recreational gymnast abused by her coach.”
The lawsuit claims that Maroney suffers from depression and anxiety and is afraid Nassar took photos of her and shared them with other pedophiles.
“Nassar would continuously, obsessively and compulsively photograph McKayla Maroney and is believed to have possessed thousands of photographs of McKayla Maroney competing in gymnastics events, training, in everyday situations,” the lawsuit says.
The US Olympic Committee denied having any role in the settlement or non-disclosure agreement and said they’re heartbroken that athletes had to endure that kid of abuse.
More than 140 girls and have filed sexual abuse complaints against Nassar since August 2016. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison earlier this month for possessing thousands of images of child pornography. The child porn was discovered last year when investigators found Nassar’s computer hard drives in the dumpster.
In court, Nassar admitted to U.S. District Judge Janet Neff that he has an addiction.
“You go back and you wonder how I got down this path to begin with,” he said. “I really did try to be a good person. … I hope one day I can be forgiven, and I’m going to take every day of your sentence to try to better myself.”
Nassar also has sentencing in two state courts in January after he pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving girls 15 years old or younger.
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