Olympic athlete McKayla Maroney was one of a number of gymnasts that came forward to accuse former Team USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assault, and Maroney detailed her experience further in a chilling letter.
While Maroney planned to be in a federal courtroom Thursday to deliver a victim-impact statement during Nassar's sentencing related to child pornography charges, she and other victims and family members were instructed by a judge to deliver statements in the form of letters. Maroney and her mother, Erin Maroney, both wrote letters detailing the six years of abuse Maroney allegedly suffered at the hands of Nassar.
In Maroney's letter, obtained by ESPN, the gold medal-winning gymnast wrote that the alleged abuse began when she was 13 and did not end until she left the sport.
"Because the national team training camps did not allow parents to be present, my mom and dad were unable to observe what Nassar was doing," she wrote.
"This experience has shattered McKayla," Erin's letter read. "She has transformed from a bubbly, positive, loving, world class athlete into a young adult who was deeply distressed, at time suicidal. At times, I was unsure whether I would open her bedroom door and find her dead."
Erin wrote that she and her husband were not allowed to stay with the girls during their travel and that her husband once questioned former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny about the safety of the athletes, to which Penny responded that the girls were "More safe than the President of the USA."
"We now know that was a lie," she wrote. Penny resigned in March.
Both McKayla and Erin detailed an incident that allegedly took place in 2011 when Maroney competed in the world championships in Tokyo. McKayla wrote that Nassar had given her a sleeping pill for the flight and the next thing she knew, she was alone with him getting treatment.
"I ... learned a few weeks ago from my daughter that at the world championships in Tokyo, [Nassar] drugged her, made her lay nude on a treatment table, straddled her and digitally penetrated her while rubbing his erect penis against her," Erin wrote. "She was only 15 years old. She said to me, 'Mom I thought I was going to die.'"
"I cannot tell you the anguish her Dad and I feel and the responsibility we feel for not being aware of this or being able to stop it," Erin continued.
Over 140 women have accused Nassar of assault, including Maroney's Olympic teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. Nassar will be sentenced Thursday in a child pornography case and could face a life sentence.0comments
"He abused my trust, abused my body and left scars on my psyche that may never heal," McKayla wrote. "Larry Nassar deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison."
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