Olympic gold medal-winning Gymnast McKayla Maroney added her voice to the #MeToo movement this week, alleging that she was molested by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Maroney, 21 made the allegations through a statement posted on Twitter.
Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges earlier this year. He has also been accused of sexually abusing up to 100 female patients.
“People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood,” Maroney wrote. The #MeToo movement was kicked off in light of the allegations about producer Harvey Weinstein.
“It started when I was 13 years old, and it didn’t end until I left the sport. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.” Maroney quit the sport in 2016, according to TIME.
She wrote that Nassar told him she was receiving "medically neccessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years." She also recalled a scary incident when she was 15: Nassar allegedly gave her a sleeping pill and she awoke in a hotel room with him receiving "treatment."
"I thought I was going to die that night," she stated.
Nassar was a team doctor for USA Gymnastics from 1996 to 2015. He has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault of nine girls. A trial for those charges is expected to take place in the near future. USA Gymnastics told TIME they were not aware of any allegations until 2015, when they fired Nassar.
Maroney became a household image after winning a silver medal in a 2012 tournament. An image of her with a side smirk went viral.
According to NBC affiliate WOOD-TV, a GoPro that had Nassar allegedly molesting girls in a pool was confiscated by the FBI. Attorney John Manly represents more than 90 of Nassar's accusers, including former Olympians and national team members. He told ESPN in an earlier report, "Dr. Nassar molested young women at the Olympics. He molested young women at national competitions.”
“Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it’s time to take our power back. And remember, it’s never too late to speak up,” Maroney said in her #MeToo statement.
[Photos: Getty Images]