Olympic star McKayla Maroney lawyer sues USA Gymnastics for paying her to keep silent on abuse suffered from team doctor

John Manly, an attorney for the gold medal-winning gymnast, has filed suit on her behalf against USA Gymnastics in Los Angeles Superior Court. He contends the organization sought to buy her silence, paying her a reported $1.25 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, while she was emotionally traumatized from the effects of Nassar’s abuse.

“I want people to understand that this kid had no choice. She couldn’t function. She couldn’t work,” Manly told ESPN. “They [USAG] were willing to sacrifice the health and well-being of one of the most famous gymnasts in the world because they didn’t want the world to know they were protecting a pedophile doctor.”

Nassar has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct, and is scheduled to be sentenced in Michigan in January. He is already serving 60 years in prison on child pornography charges. Nassar, who served as USA Gymnastics’ doctor during four Olympic Games, also faces civil lawsuits charging he abused more than 140 women during medical exams.

Maroney violated the confidentiality agreement when she posted about Nassar on Twitter in October. While she has not spoken publicly since then, both she and her mother Erin submitted statements to the court overseeing Nassar’s sentencing. As ESPN noted, the details of that abuse are disturbing, as in the case of one incident in Tokyo in 2011:

“[Nassar] drugged her, made her lay nude on a treatment table, straddled her and digitally penetrated her while rubbing his erect penis against her,” Erin Maroney wrote. “She was only 15 years old. She said to me, ‘Mom I thought I was going to die.’ This experience has shattered McKayla. She has transformed from a bubbly, positive, loving, world class athlete into a young adult who was deeply depressed, at times suicidal. At times, I was unsure whether I would open her bedroom door and find her dead.”

Manly dismissed the possibility that Maroney could be facing a countersuit from USA Gymnastics for violating the confidentiality agreement. “Confidentiality agreements in child sex abuse cases are unlawful in the state of California and have been for years,” he told ESPN. “We’re basically saying USAG and its lawyers violated the law by asking McKayla to agree to it and that she should be free to talk about her abuse to whomever she wants, whenever she wants.”

Maroney’s lawsuit charges that Nassar abused her continuously over a period of five years, and also took photographs of her, possibly during examinations. Also named in the suit are the United States Olympic Committee, Nassar’s employer Michigan State University, and Nassar himself.

John Geddert, head coach of the record-shattering 2012 Olympic champion U.S. women’s gymnastics team, failed to report parent concerns about possible sexual abuse by Team USA physician Dr. Larry Nassar, a federal lawsuit alleges in January this year when he was sued too.

There seems to be a very terrible abuse culture going on there. The team coach knew about the abuse and remain silent. The management or board of USA Gymnastics knew about the abuse but resulted to paying the abused to keep silent.

This girl was a child at the time and needed protection from the organisation. If the Gymnastics board couldn’t protect her who else will.

Similar to Eniola Aluko’s case in England where FA paid her to stay silent after been racially abused by the team coach.

Terrible unethical sports culture developing which need to be eradicated quickly so as not to affect participation.

Sport will be dead if participation is affected by ineffective governing bodies policy on child protection and handling of abuse cases.

Credit: Yahoo Sports

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