Over 140 women and girls have come forward with sexual abuse allegations
Last Wednesday, two-time Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney posted on Twitter that she was abused by Dr. Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics Team doctor who is currently in jail in Michigan awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Now, Nassar’s lawyers want his trial on sexual abuse charges to be held in another location, claiming in court filings that media reports and social media posts, including Maroney’s Twitter statement, are among factors that will make it difficult for him to get a fair trial.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Nassar faces “nearly two dozen criminal sexual conduct charges split between Ingham and Eaton counties. His federal sentencing on child pornography charges is set for Dec. 7. Those charges involve materials found on computer equipment in a trash bin at his home.”
It is not currently known if Maroney is among the 140 women and girls who have come forward with federal lawsuits alleging they were assaulted by Nassar. In her letter, Maroney said that the abuse started when she was 13 years old, in Texas at a training camp, and didn’t end until she retired from the sport.
“For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old,” Maroney wrote in her post. “I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo. He’d given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a ‘treatment.’ I thought I was going to die that night.”
If the court does not grant Nassar’s motion, opening statements in the first trial in Ingham County would be in January. If convicted on state charges, Nassar could spend up to life in prison. According to the Washington Post, he is facing 23 criminal sexual conduct charges and will be tried in two Michigan counties.
Maroney, who was inspired to post in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, had this to say.
“People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood,” she wrote. “This is happening everywhere. Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be abuse. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting…Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it’s time to take our power back.”