University of Oklahoma Gymnast, Minnesota-Native says Sports Doctor Abused Her

January 09, 2018 10:16 PM

A University of Oklahoma gymnast and former Olympic hopeful says she is among more than 100 women and girls who say they are victims of sexual abuse by a now-imprisoned Michigan sports doctor.

OU sophomore Maggie Nichols said in a statement Tuesday that Dr. Larry Nassar violated her innocence at the Karolyi Ranch Olympic training camp in Texas. Minnesota-native Nichols' lawyer is John Manly.

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RELATED: Review: USA Gymnastics Needs 'Culture Change' to Stop Abuse

Manly represents 107 females suing two institutions that employed Nassar: USA Gymnastics, the Indianapolis-based group that trains Olympians; and Michigan State University.

Nichols is now sharing her story about sexual abuse she says happened at the hands of her USA Gymnastics doctor.

"This is wrong, this is not how we treat children, not how these children who are athletes should have been treated," her mother, Gina Nichols said. 

Nassar has admitted to sexually assaulting gymnasts, possessing child pornography and molesting girls who sought treatment. He is scheduled for sentencing next week on the molestation cases. He was sentenced in December to 60 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography.

RELATED: Gymnast McKayla Maroney says Settlement Covered Up Sex Abuse

Maggie Nichols said she started having back problems while at a national team camp in Texas when she was 15. Nassar treated her.

In a statement she said, "I trusted what he was doing at first, but then he started touching me in places I really didn't think he should. He didn't have gloves on and didn't tell me what he was doing."

Her coach overheard her talking with a teammate about Nassar's behavior.

"She's a hero, she listened to her athlete and did the right thing, and the normal right thing for any adult to do is to call the police if children are being molested by a man," Gina Nichols said.

But her parents say that's not what happened when they reported it to USA Gymnastics in the spring of 2015.

"We were told we needed to be quiet," said John Nichols, Maggie's father. "We couldn't say anything, we can't notify the authorities. If we did, that might jeopardize the investigation that USA Gymnastics assured us was occurring."

Her parents say Maggie's faith and positivity have given her the courage to speak out hoping her story will enact change.

"She's learned you can be honest, you can be true, and still succeed," John Nichols said. 

Credits

The Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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