Monday, 18 June, 2018

First Male Gymnast Alleges Sexual Abuse By Larry Nassar

Dr. Larry Nassar appears in court for a plea hearing in Lansing Mich. Wednesday Nov. 22 2017.
Paul Sancya  AP Dr. Larry Nassar appears in court for a plea hearing in Lansing Mich. Wednesday Nov. 22 2017. Paul Sancya AP
Diane Mills | 03 March, 2018, 00:18

Raisman, who is Jewish and the victor of numerous Olympic medals, including several golds, filed her lawsuit Wednesday in California, saying they "knew or should have known" about abusive patterns Nassar, who is now in prison, The Associated Press reported.

A male gymnast has become the first known male victim to formally accuse Dr. Larry Nassar, 54, of sexual abuse. In two sentencing hearings held earlier this year in MI courts, scores of victims, as well as some parents, took turns facing Nassar - who had already received 60 years in federal prison for child pornography and would get up to 175 more years in state prison - and testifying to the pain caused by his abuses.

He pleaded guilty to child pornography and sexual assault charges and was sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Despite having the power, authority and mandate to discipline Nassar, there was never any intervention by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics or former top USA Gymnastics executives, who were also named as defendants, according to Raisman's lawsuit. "It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed".

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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Nassar was sentenced in January and February in two separate hearings to 40 to 175 years and 40 to 125 years in prison. The lawsuit says that the USOC was "aware, at the highest levels of its organization, that Defendant Nassar had molested Olympic and National Team level gymnasts". The suit alleges Nassar began grooming Raisman shortly after she joined the USA junior national team.

USA Gymnastics and the USOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

In her statement cited by NBC, Raisman said the USOC and USA Gymnastics were stonewalling on the question of what they knew about Nassar's behavior. News. "USA Gymnastics supports our athletes...who have shared their experiences with abuse, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been hurt by the despicable crimes of Larry Nassar", the statement read. Raisman said the USOC and USA Gymnastics allowed Nassar to continue abusing athletes by not telling the university about the conduct that led them to fire him. She battled shame, guilt and depression in the aftermath, Raisman said.

USA Gymnastics has undergone a massive overhaul in the a year ago.

For its part, USA Gymnastics says it has made several "bold decisions and actions" including closing the National Team Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch and creating an athlete task force to let athletes help shape the organization's operating decisions.

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