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Aly Raisman Says She Was Abused By USA Gymnastics Doctor

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman says she was abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. She told CBS' <em>60 Minutes</em> that he began treating her when she was 15.
Adam Glanzman
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Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman says she was abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. She told CBS' 60 Minutes that he began treating her when she was 15.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

Aly Raisman, captain of the gold-medal U.S. gymnastics teams at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, says she was abused by former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Raisman, 23, told CBS' 60 Minutes in an interview airing Sunday that Nassar first treated her when she was 15. She says she spoke to FBI investigators about Nassar after the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.

More than 125 women have alleged abuse by Nassar, who is in jail awaiting sentencing on child pornography charges and a trial on charges of sexual misconduct. Plaintiffs are also suing USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University, where Nassar was a doctor and faculty member.

Raisman said people have asked her why more of Nassar's accusers didn't lodge complaints about him earlier.

"Why are we looking at why didn't the girls speak up?" she says. "Why not look at what about the culture? What did USA Gymnastics do, and Larry Nassar do, to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up?"

McKayla Maroney, Raisman's teammate at the 2012 London Games, said last month that she had been abused by Nassar for years. "I had a dream to go to the Olympics," she wrote in a statement on Twitter, "and the things that I had to endure to get there, were unnecessary, and disgusting."

According to the Lansing State Journal, Nassar's attorneys have defended his actions — including breast massages and digital vaginal and anal penetration for up to 20 minutes as a time — as helpful medical treatments.

His attorney tells NPR that due to a gag order in the sexual abuse case, he has no comment on Raisman's accusations.

In an interview with The Associated Press in August, Raisman didn't want to say whether she had been abused by Nassar, but she called him "a monster" and blamed USA Gymnastics for not stopping him.

"What people don't realize is that this doctor was a doctor for 29 years," Raisman told the AP. "Whether or not he did it to a gymnast, they still knew him. Even if he didn't do it to you, it's still the trauma and the anxiety of wondering what could have happened. I think that needs to be addressed. These girls, they should be comfortable going to USA Gymnastics and saying 'I need help, I want therapy. I need this.'"

This week, the governing body announced it had hired a new president and CEO, Kerry Perry. The previous president, Steve Penny, resigned in March amid criticism of how the organization handled the abuse allegations.

In June, USA Gymnastics said it was adopting all 70 of the recommendations from an independent review of its policies related to sexual misconduct. Among the recommendations is a database that will track coaches dismissed from member clubs, and requiring clubs to report complaints to authorities immediately.

USA Gymnastics wrote in a statement to NPR that it is "appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career."

The governing body said it has strengthened "policies that include mandatory reporting, defines six types of misconduct, sets standards to prohibit grooming behavior and prevent inappropriate interaction, and establishes greater accountability. ... We are committed to doing what is right, and we want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe."

CBS will broadcast the full interview with Raisman on Sunday night.

"I'm really upset," Raisman says. "[W]hen I see these young girls that come up to me, and they ask for pictures or autographs, whatever it is, I just — I can't — every time I look at them, every time I see them smiling, I just think — I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.