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The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA.)

 

After coming under fire for victim-shaming one of her fellow gymnasts, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas revealed Tuesday that she, too, was abused by disgraced U.S. gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

In a lengthy statement posted to Instagram, Douglas, who grew up in Virginia Beach, apologized to her teammate Aly Raisman for suggesting last week that she perhaps wouldn't have been abused by Nassar if she didn't dress in a "provocative" way.

Then, Douglas said she also endured Nassar's abuse.

"I didn't publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful," Douglas, 21, wrote.

Douglas said no one has the right to "harass or abuse" women, no matter what they're wearing.

"It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar," she added.

Douglas didn't go into detail about the abuse Nassar allegedly subjected her to and asked for compassion from her fans.

"I understand that many of you didn't know what I was dealing with, but it is important to me that you at least know this," she wrote.

Douglas is the third member of the 2012 Olympic gold medal team to accuse Nassar of abuse.

Raisman, 23, revealed last week that Nassar touched her inappropriately during a number of treatment sessions, starting when she was in her teens. Her teammate McKayla Maroney said last month that Nassar molested her for several years, beginning when she was just 13.

Nassar, 54, is currently in a Michigan jail, accused of molesting several girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. He's facing similar charges in a neighboring Michigan county and lawsuits filed by more than 125 women and girls.

The girls have testified that Nassar molested them with his hands, sometimes when a parent was present in the room, while they sought help for gymnastics injuries.

"He convinced these girls that this was some type of legitimate treatment," Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis told a judge last summer. "Why would they question him? Why would they question this gymnastics god?"

Nassar will plead guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault and face at least 25 years in prison, a person with knowledge of the agreement said Tuesday.

The person was not authorized to publicly discuss the agreement ahead of a court hearing today for Nassar in Michigan's Ingham County and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

USA Gymnastics launched an independent review of its policies in the wake of the allegations against Nassar. In June, the gymnastics board adopted the new USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy that replaced the previous policy. Key updates include mandatory reporting, defining six types of misconduct, setting standards to prohibit grooming behavior, preventing inappropriate interaction and establishing accountability.

The organization also hired Kerry Perry as the organization's new president and CEO. Perry replaces Steve Penny, who resigned under pressure in March.

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November 22, 2017
 
 
 

 

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