Minnesota gymnast comes forward about sexual assault

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Minnesota gymnast comes forward about sexual assault

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NCAA National Champion and 5 time National team member, Maggie Nichols, has come forward with sexual assault accusations.  The Minnesota native, who has been called “The best gymnast in the nation” by ESPN,  has broken her silence and released an open letter about her assaults that first started when she was only 15.  The full statement can be found here.

Maggie Nichols was one of several U.S. National Team members to report sexual assault and abuse made by doctor Larry Nassar.  The gymnast first saw doctor Larry Nassar when she was 13 or 14 and at that time his actions were nothing but normal.  Things changed when she was 15 when she went to see Nassar for back problems at the Karoli training camp.  At this visit, Nichols says that Nassar was inappropriate with her and did not tell her what he was doing for her treatment, Nichols also said that she did not say anything because she was told to trust adults, especially doctors.   After the assault occurred, Nichols said she was unsure of what happened.  Thankfully, Nichols coach at the time overheard her telling a friend about what happened to her and reported it the USA gymnastics.  Prior to coming forward, Maggie Nichols was referred to as “athlete A” by USA Gymnastics.  All gymnasts on the National Team were subjected to see Nassar for every single competition and he even traveled with them to international competitions.

I want everyone to know that he did not do this to Athlete A; he did it to Maggie Nichols.”

— Maggie Nichols

When Maggie Nichol’s parents found out about what had happened to their daughter, they contacted USA Gymnastics immediately but were ultimately shut down and told to not contact local authorities, and that it was being handled internally by USA Gymnastics.  Maggie Nichol’s mother also put out a statement saying that USA Gymnastics has not reached out making sure Maggie is okay and has not offered them any settlements. Nichols has now filed a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and Michigan State University.

Doctor Larry Nassar was formally employed at Michigan State University where complaints were filed against him but were ignored by Michigan State, and not brought up when Nassar was hired by USA Gymnastics.  Nichols said in her statement that she believes that if Michigan State would have done something about the complaints, this may have never happened to her and her teammates.  Over 100 complaints have been filed with the police against Nassar, who is currently serving 60 years in prison for child pornography charges and is awaiting sentencing on 10 counts of sexual assault.

Nichols, along with teammates including Olympians, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Gabby Douglas are sadly just a very small fraction of the girls who have recently spoken out about their abuse.  Maggie Nichols is currently a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma and the reigning NCAA national gymnastics champion. In a recent interview with NBCNews, Nichols says that she is currently doing “OK.”

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