Olympian Simone Biles publicly alleged Monday that she was sexually assaulted by former USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar. She joins more than 140 woman who have made similar claims.
“Most of you know me as a happy, giggly, and energetic girl. But lately … I’ve felt a bit broken,” the 20-year-old wrote in a statement she posted on Twitter. “I am not afraid to tell my story anymore.”
Before Nassar pleaded guilty to a series of sex crimes late last year, he and his attorneys denied the allegations and maintained he was providing legitimate pain therapy.
Biles, who won four gold medals and a bronze at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, is the third member of that team, dubbed “The Final Five,” to accuse Nassar of abuse, along with Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. McKayla Maroney, a gold medal-winning member of the 2012 Team USA women, and Jamie Dantzscher, a bronze medalist who competed at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, have also alleged abuse by Nassar.
“It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the ‘special’ treatment. This behavior is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone whom I was TOLD to trust,” Biles wrote.
Biles’s announcement came the day before the beginning of Nassar’s sentencing hearing in Lansing, Mich. Dozens of women are expected to read victim impact statements over the course of four days.
Nassar, 54, has admitted to seven sexual assaults as part of a plea deal. He already faces a 60-year sentence for federal child pornography crimes and has one more sentencing hearing scheduled for later this month, for three more sexual assaults committed in another county in Michigan.
Nassar, a physician with a specialty in sports medicine, particularly gymnastics, worked full-time at Michigan State’s school of osteopathic medicine and treated young athletes at a campus clinic. He also volunteered for USA Gymnastics and treated Team USA women’s gymnasts at the Karolyi family ranch outside Houston and at competitions around the globe.
Facing criticism, Steve Penny resigned as chief executive of USA Gymnastics in March.
In 2015, he waited five weeks to inform law enforcement after a gymnast complained about Nassar, Penny acknowledged.
After deciding to end USA Gymnastics’ relationship with Nassar a few weeks later, Penny did not inform Michigan State, where Nassar continued to work until September 2016, when another woman came forward alleging abuse.