Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman is launching a lawsuit against the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, accusing both organizations of failing to protect her and dozens of other girls from former team doctor Larry Nassar.
The suit, writes The New York Times, was filed in California Superior Court on Wednesday and publicly announced at the end of the week. The two organizations, along with Dr. Nassar, are listed as defendants.
Also named in the suit is Steve Penny, former president of USA Gymnastics, and Paul Parilla, once chairman of its governing board.
Raisman, 23, won gold medals in the last two Olympic games. After allegations against Nassar became news, Raisman and several other Olympians – including McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas – added their names to the physician’s list of victims.
In total, Nassar is suspected of abusing at least 265 girls throughout the course of his career with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
Raisman is seeking a jury trial in her suit against USA Gymnastics and the USOC on grounds of having suffered “serial molestation, sexual abuse and harassment” by Nassar. According to Raisman and many of the doctor’s victims, reports of wrongdoing and uncomfortable medical techniques were either ignored or written off as unconventional treatments.
“It has become painfully clear that these organizations have no intention of properly addressing this problem,” said Raisman in a statement Thursday. “After all this time, they remain unwilling to conduct a full investigation, and without a solid understanding of how this happened, it is delusional to think sufficient changes can be implemented.”
The New York Times reports that Raisman says she suffers extensive psychological trauma from her encounters with Nassar – depression, anxiety, and fear, all stemming back to abuse which took place between 2010 and 2015.
Nassar began victimizing the gymnast during competitions and training sessions – events under the purview of the USOC and USA Gymnastics.
“Thousands of young athletes continue to train and compete every day in the same broken system,” said Raisman. “I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing. It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed.”
In a Times article on the litigation, the publication notes that Nassar was initially convicted of molesting seven girls – but by January, during another hearing, over 150 young women described their abuse at and by his hands.
Nassar has been sentenced to hudnreds of years in prison for sexual misconduct and child pornography offenses.
USA Gymnastics published a statement on Friday, affirming its support for its female athletes and apologizing for Nassar’s crimes.
“U.S.A. Gymnastics supports our athletes, like Aly Raisman, Jacob Moore and others, 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,” it said.
Jacob Moore became the first male athlete to levy accusations of sexual abuse against Nassar, claiming that the doctor performed acupuncture on Moore’s genitals while treating him for a shoulder injury in 2016.
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