Aly Raisman, Olympic gold medalist and role model empowering women to speak out against harassment, is suing the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for lack of action taken against former team physician Larry Nassar.
After Raisman and more than 100 women spoke out and filed civil actions against Nassar, saying he had continually sexually assaulted them during treatment sessions over the years, he was sentenced to 40-to-175 years in prison for seven charges and 40-to-125 years for three additional charges. But in the months leading up to Nassar’s sentencing, Raisman called out the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for not doing more to stop the physician from harming people.
The gymnast is now suing the two organizations, alleging they should have taken more action to prevent the abuse and conducted a thorough investigation, NBC News reported.
The lawsuit, filed in California, alleges that both U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics had knowledge of Nassar’s history of past sexual abuse against minors but let the mandatory treatment of her and many other young women take place for years.
Despite the organizations being notified of his behavior, Raisman said Nassar was never punished and no one with the direct power to do so intervened in the situation. In fact, the lawsuit claims that when Maggie Nichols, a national team member, reported the abuse to USA Gymnastics in 2015, the organization took more than a month to alert the FBI. The document also claims that USA Gymnastics did not alert Michigan State University, where Nassar was also practicing medicine, of the situation at the time.
“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,” Raisman said in a statement to NBC News. “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.”
Raisman also said she still experiences depression, anxiety, and fear to this day as a result of Nassar’s abuse.
The lawsuit comes weeks after the USA Gymnastics board resigned amid the scandal. U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun’s resignation was also announced on Feb. 28, citing health issues, and the committee is launching a new set of guidelines to ensure athletes are protected in the future.
In addition to the two sentences for sexual assault charges, Nassar was also sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography crimes. Ultimately, Nassar got what amounts to a life sentence. As part of a plea deal, Nassar agreed to listen to victim impact statements from women and girls who reported abuse. More than 250 told their stories during sentencing hearings in two Michigan counties.
You can read Raisman’s full lawsuit against the USOC and USA Gymnastics here.
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