WARNING: Graphic Images
The sport of gymnastics requires balance, strength, courage, and control. Children may be enrolled in “kindergym” at 20 months of age; in recreational gymnastics at 3 y.o. But serious gymnasts, those aiming for the Olympics, begin training around 6 y.o. For that last group, the selection of a coach is crucial.
Dr. Larry Nassar was among the most respected and sought after. Which makes it all the more shocking that Dr. Nassar, employed for 29 years by USA Gymnastics (the governing body for the sport), is being investigated by the FBI for child molestation .
Complaints – some dating as far back as the 1990s – have been made by over two dozen athletes. Nassar, who has not yet been charged, denies any wrongdoing.
“Olympians represent our country. They’re the best America has to offer. These girls give up their childhood and their adolescence to try and fulfill their dream and win medals for their country — and what we have here is somebody who took advantage of that trust .”
– John Manly, attorney for some of the athletes who allege they were violated by Dr. Larry Nassar
At least fifteen women claim Dr. Nassar penetrated them digitally, under the guise of medical treatment . Victims ranged in age from 13 y.o. to 20 y.o. when their abuse started. A 16 y.o. victim did report Dr. Nassar’s conduct to police in 2004. No help was, however, forthcoming.
Initially, Nassar denied ever having employed penetration on a patient. He now claims to have used a legitimate medical procedure for back pain.
According to the Indiana Osteopathic Association, such a procedure does exist. However, it requires prior permission, the presence of an adult of the same gender as the patient, as well as the use of gloves and a lubricant. The victims maintain these conditions were not met.
“H. Sexual Misconduct.
Members of USA Gymnastics are expected to promote a safe environment for participants…which includes an environment free from sexual misconduct. It is inconsistent with this obligation for any Member to:
- Solicit or engage in sexual relations with any minor.
- Engage in any behavior that utilizes the influence of a professional Member’s position as coach, judge, official or administrator to encourage sexual relations with an athlete or participant.
- Engage in sexual harassment by making unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
– USA Gymnastics, Code of Ethical Conduct, https://usagym.org/pages/aboutus/pages/code_of_ethics.html
If there is even a shred of truth to the allegations here, these young athletes were deprived of a safe environment and a rewarding experience, commensurate with their effort. They were left instead with a lifetime of heartache…heartache that will take all the balance, strength, courage, and control they can muster.
 NBC News, “FBI Eyes Dr. Larry Nassar, Accused of Abusing Gymnasts” by S. Gosk, K. Powers, H. Rappleye, and T. Connor, 9/30/16, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fbi-eyes-dr-larry-nassar-accused-abusing-gymnasts-n657496.
 USA Today, “16 more women accuse former USA Gymnastics doctor of sexual abuse” by M. Kwiatkowski, T. Evans, and M. Alesia, 9/26/16, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/09/25/16-more-women-accuse-former-usa-gymnastics-doctor-sexual-abuse/91081026/.
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