Gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, 21, joined the #MeToo movement on Wednesday to allege that she had been molested by the team doctor for the U.S. Women's National Gymnastics Team and Olympic Team beginning when she was 13 years old. "It didn't end until I left the sport," she wrote in a letter about the "unnecessary" and "disgusting" abuse she allegedly endured.
Dr. Larry Nassar, named by Maroney in her letter, pleaded guilty to child pornography charges earlier this year, The Washington Post reports. He has been accused of assaulting more than 100 women and girls during his time with the U.S. gymnastics team.
From Maroney's letter:
It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was "treated." It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my silver. For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old. I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo. He'd given me a sleeping pill for the flight and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a "treatment." I thought I was going to die that night. [McKayla Maroney via Twitter]
Maroney emphasized that while the #MeToo movement grew out of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, "people should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood."
"Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it's time to take our power back," Maroney wrote. "And remember, it's never too late to speak up." Read her full letter below. Jeva Lange