USA Gymnastics issues statement after Aly Raisman says she was sexually abused by team doctor

"Sharing her personal experience of abuse takes great courage.”

Aly Raisman competes on the balance beam.
Aly Raisman competes on the balance beam at the Rio Olympics. –Lars Baron / Getty Images

USA Gymnastics issued a statement Friday expressing support for gymnast Aly Raisman after the Needham native said she had been sexually abused by a team doctor.

“In the last year, Aly has become an advocate for many issues, and sharing her personal experience of abuse takes great courage,” the athletic organization said. “We are appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career.”

Nassar is in prison in Michigan after pleading guilty to federal child porn charges in July. He has pleaded not guilty to separate criminal sexual conduct charges and is being sued by more than 125 women who allege he sexually assaulted them in civil court.

Advertisement

Raisman, 23, told 60 Minutes in an interview that will air Sunday that she was first treated by Nassar when she was 15 years old. The gymnast has been outspoken in calling for change inside the USA Gymnastics organization for its handling of the abuse allegations made against Nassar.

“Why are we looking at why didn’t the girls speak up?” Raisman said in a clip of her forthcoming interview. “Why not look at what about the culture? What did USA Gymnastics do, and Larry Nassar do, to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up?”

USA Gymnastics said in its statement following reports on the abuse Raisman suffered that the organization shares Raisman’s “passion and concern for athlete safety.”

Read the full statement from USA Gymnastics below:

Aly Raisman’s achievements have made her one of our country’s most decorated gymnasts, and her dedication and determination to succeed have inspired fans around the world. In the last year, Aly has become an advocate for many issues, and sharing her personal experience of abuse takes great courage.

We are appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career.

Aly’s passion and concern for athlete safety is shared by USA Gymnastics. Our athletes are our priority, and we are committed to promoting an environment of empowerment that encourages speaking up, especially on difficult topics like abuse, as well the protection of athletes at all levels throughout our gymnastics community.

We are hard at work to strengthen that commitment by: adopting the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy; hiring a new president and chief executive officer who emphasizes empowerment throughout the organization; building a safe sport department that is developing a comprehensive education plan for members; and creating an implementation plan for the recommendations made by an experienced, former federal prosecutor who carefully examined the organization’s past policies. The Safe Sport Policy strengthens policies that include mandatory reporting, defines six types of misconduct, sets standards to prohibit grooming behavior and prevent inappropriate interaction, and establishes greater accountability.

Working together with athletes, coaches, club owners, judges, parents and the gymnastics community, we are confident these steps will help further develop a culture of empowerment that has safe sport as a top priority throughout the organization. We are committed to doing what is right, and we want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe.

Close

Get the latest sports alerts sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.