Team doctor abused me too, says Douglas

AFP
Douglas was criticized last week after an apparent barb directed at Raisman, who recently revealed she was sexually assaulted by US team doctor Larry Nassar.
AFP
Reuters

American gymnast Gabby Douglas arrives at the 50th Annual Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, in this November 2, 2016, photo. The three-time Olympic gold medalist said on November 21, 2017,  that she was sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar, the latest in a list of female athletes to accuse the doctor of misconduct.

Olympic champion Gabby Douglas revealed on Tuesday she was also abused by a former USA Gymnastics team doctor as she issued a new statement responding to allegations she 'victim-shamed' teammate Aly Raisman.

Douglas was criticized last week after an apparent barb directed at Raisman, who recently revealed she was sexually assaulted by United States team doctor Larry Nassar, who is facing multiple charges of abuse.

Raisman had called for an end to shaming of sexual assault victims, stating that how a woman dressed should have no bearing on how allegations are viewed.

Douglas, however, responded by stating that women had a "responsibility to dress modestly and be classy".

"Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd," Douglas wrote in a tweet that was later deleted. Her comment was roundly criticized.

Douglas later apologized, and in a further statement on Tuesday captioned "Please hear my heart", said her remarks were not intended as a criticism of Raisman.

"First, I want to reiterate my apology for responding the way that I did to a comment that one of my teammates posted," Douglas wrote.

"I didn't view my comments as victim shaming because I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you.

"It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar.

"I didn't publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful."

Douglas's representative later confirmed to USA Today that the gymnast had been one of Nassar's victims.

As well as Raisman and Douglas, fellow US gymnast McKayla Maroney, 21, has also revealed she, too, had been molested by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment.

Nassar was involved with USA Gymnastics for nearly three decades and worked with the country's gymnasts at four separate Olympic Games.

Sexual misconduct

He has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and is reportedly set to be jailed for 25 years under a deal agreed with prosecutors over 22 criminal sexual misconduct charges he is facing for molesting several girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, The Associated Press reported.

Nassar, 54, is charged with molesting seven girls, all but one of whom were gymnasts, mostly under the guise of treatment at his Lansing-area home in Michigan and a campus clinic. He's facing similar charges in a neighboring county and lawsuits filed by more than 125 women and girls.

The plea deal in Ingham County calls for a minimum prison sentence of 25 years, but a judge could set the minimum sentence as high as 40 years. In Michigan, inmates are eligible for parole after serving a minimum sentence.

The girls have testified that Nassar molested them with his hands, sometimes when a parent was present in the room, while they sought help for gymnastics injuries.

"He convinced these girls that this was some type of legitimate treatment," Assistant Attorney General Angela Poviliatis told a judge last summer. "Why would they question him? Why would they question this gymnastics god?"

Separately, Nassar is charged with similar crimes in Eaton County, the location of an elite gymnastics club. He also is awaiting sentencing in federal court on child pornography charges.

Nassar's case was part of a wide-ranging scandal which forced the resignation of USA Gymnastics chief Steve Penny last year.

Penny was accused by victims of failing to quickly notify authorities about abuse allegations.

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