As Larry Nassar, a doctor who formerly treated members of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, sat in court recently for a sentencing hearing to learn his punishment for abusing teenage victims over a number of years, several of those victims made statements about how the abuse impacted their lives. One such victim was McKayla Maroney, who gained national renown when she won a gold medal at the Olympics.

Maroney, who is now 22 years old, submitted a written statement that was read by a prosecutor at the sentencing hearing. Maroney’s statement described how Nassar’s abuse of her began when she was just 13 or 14 years old, and continued as she participated in national and Olympic gymnastics competitions. At the time of the abuse, Nassar reportedly told Maroney that he was performing the same type of “medical treatments” on her that he had on many other patients over the course of 30 years of practice as a doctor. Maroney’s statement described how she trusted Nassar, but that what he was actually doing was child molestation.

Although Maroney may be one of the most well-known individuals to have been victimized by Nassar, she is far from alone. A recent report noted that there are some 140 or more other women and young girls who have asserted that Nassar abused them as well.

The type of breach of trust that is on display for a national audience as Nassar is sentenced for his crimes is worthy of significant punishment. Victims of sexual abuse deserve to have the opportunity to voice how such abuse has impacted their lives and, where appropriate, they may also have the right to pursue financial compensation from abusers in civil court as well.

Source: The New York Times, “McKayla Maroney, Describing Sexual Abuse, Calls Larry Nassar a ‘Monster of a Human Being’,” Christine Hauser, Jan. 18, 2018