On Wednesday, Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast McKayla Maroney sued USA Gymnastics. Maroney, part of the “Fierce Five” U.S. women’s team at the 2012 Olympics in London, alleged that the Olympic sports organization sought to buy her silence with a confidential settlement agreement last year relating to her abuse by longtime women’s gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar.
• The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that USA Gymnastics agreed to pay Maroney $1.25 million.
• Gloria Allred, the well-known attorney and women’s rights advocate, negotiated the deal on Maroney’s behalf.
• Other defendants include Michigan State and the U.S. Olympic Committee, alleging they, along with USA Gymnastics, failed to respond to warning signs, permitting Nassar to abuse Maroney and others.
In October, Maroney went public with accusations Nassar assaulted her for years, starting when she was 13, at events around the globe, including the 2012 Summer Games in London.
Accused by more than 140 women of assault, Nassar, 54, was sentenced to 60 years in prison this month for federal child pornography crimes. He also has pleaded guilty to several sex crimes in two counties in Michigan and will be sentenced for his state charges in separate hearings next month.
USA Gymnastics officials have faced criticism for not informing Michigan State — which employed Nassar full time — that he was under criminal investigation in 2015. Michigan State officials have said they first became aware of Nassar’s abuse in August 2016, when a victim filed a complaint with university police, but other victims have alleged raising complaints to university officials about Nassar’s assaults as far back as 1997.
“Contrary to reports, the concept of confidentiality was initiated by McKayla’s attorney, not USA Gymnastics. . . . Although USA Gymnastics is disappointed by today’s filing, we applaud McKayla and others who speak up against abusive behavior — including the despicable acts of Larry Nassar. We want to work together with McKayla and others to help encourage and empower athletes to speak up against abuse.”
Allred declined to comment Wednesday.
Maroney’s new attorney, John Manly, asserted that USA Gymnastics’ statement was misleading and that while the mediation was confidential, the settlement did not have to be.
Manly alleged that the settlement agreement USA Gymnastics signed with Maroney is illegal in California, but the law to which he referred didn’t go into effect until Jan. 1 of this year, according to Harrison. If the settlement was signed in December 2016 as Maroney’s lawsuit claims, according to Harrison, it is probably legal.