Organizations Scrutinized After Latest Nassar Victim Testimonies

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman testifying at Larry Nassar's sentencing on Friday, Jan. 19. Raisman is one of 100 plus women accusing Nassar of sexual assault.

The sexual molestation case surrounding Larry Nassar, former doctor for USA gymnastics, has gained further public scrutiny as his final sentencing draws nearer. This is due to the victim impact testimonies that took place last week, in which numerous grown women came to court and shared their stories of Nassar abusing them as children. The more than 140 victims of Nassar’s abuse span across decades.

His molestation has impacted the most decorated young women in USA gymnastics, with Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles all stating instances of Nassar’s abuse.

Biles is the most recent of the Olympic team to come forward, saying via Instagram post that she was initially reluctant to share her story. Biles will not be coming forward in court to read her victim testimony.

Maroney, who signed a nondisclosure agreement regarding the abuse in a $1.25 million settlement in 2016 with USA gymnastics, will face a $100,00 fine if she reads her victim tes- timony in court. Many have criticized the courts and USA gymnastics for the potential fine, saying she should be allowed to speak, given the nature of the abuse. Among her supporters was Chrissy Teigen, who tweeted that she would be “honored” to pay Maroney’s fine.

Raisman, initially deciding not to speak, was praised for her speech’s denouncement of USA gymnastics and its supposed cover up of Nassar’s years of abuse. One of her main points included the hypocrisy of the organization’s actions. She said that while it was willing to support — and capitalize on — the athletes during their moments of success, it often fell silent when it came to bringing repercussions to those who allowed those same athletes to be physically and mentally harmed.

In addition to USA gymnastics, Michigan State University is also facing scrutiny for its handling of claims against Nassar, who was employed there in 1997 when a young female athlete first reported his abuse to the university. Other victims told university staff about his abuse as well, one ac- count reaching the president of MSU, Lou Ann Simon. Despite many staff obtaining knowledge of Nassar’s misconduct, none of his actions were penalized.

Many are now calling for Simon and other MSU staff members to resign or face penalty for their years of complacency. Among those complaining is Raisman’s mother, who took to took to Twitter to voice her complaints about MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo. The coach said that the victim testimonies against Nassar were difficult to hear, but then expressed his support for the university president.

When asked about the likelihood of a situation such as Nassar’s occuring at New York University, student athletes and those involved in NYU Athletics expressed confidence in the institution’s ability to deal with such occurrences.

“I strongly believe that my coaches would have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct carried out by anyone on our training staff and be anything but supportive of us coming forward,” Ogawa said.

Ogawa started every game for the Violets this season.

CAS senior Victoria DeLeon is a student assistant in for NYU’s varsity strength and conditioning program.

“I believe the athletic department at NYU cares deeply about all of the student athletes and if misconduct like that were to occur here I have no doubt that the NYU community would respond fully to the incident,” DeLeon said. “I have never felt that I could not be fully honest and open with any faculty member of the athletic department during my four years here. ”

DeLeon has worked with NYU‘s strength and conditioning program for the past three years.

Ryan McLaughlin is a Stern junior and a member of the baseball team.

“I definitely think the athletic department would be receptive,” McLaughlin said. “In my experi- ence so far at NYU the athletic de- partment has our athletes’ best in- terest in mind and would work to solve any issues that would ever arise about sexual misconduct.”

McLaughlin was named the youngest captain for the Vio- lets last season, being the only sophomore leader.

As accounts of sexual miscon- duct are brought forth across nu- merous industries, the way that the institutional leaders who en- abled such behavior are punished has yet to be revealed. In the case of Nassar, victims seem adamant on ensuring that all involved face repercussions for their attempts to silence those who came forward.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Jan. 22 print edition. Email Maddie Howard at [email protected] 

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