McKayla Maroney’s mother, Erin Maroney, opened up about the massive emotional toll taken on the Olympic gymnast following years of alleged sexual abuse by Larry Nassar.
While McKayla and other victims were scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, December 7, they, as well as their family members, were instead instructed by a judge to give statements in the form of letters.
“This experience has shattered McKayla,” Erin wrote in a letter to the judge presiding over the case against the former U.S. Women’s National Gymnastics team and Olympic team doctor, per ESPN. “She has transformed from a bubbly, positive, loving, world class athlete into a young adult who was deeply depressed, at times suicidal. At times, I was unsure whether I would open her bedroom door and find her dead.”
“We were never allowed to the U.S. Olympic Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch nor any other training facility,” she continued in the letter. “My husband once questioned the propriety of the isolation of the girls during international travel. He was assured by Steve Penny that the girls were safe at all times. ‘More safe than the President of the USA,’ he said to him. We now know that this was a lie.”
Erin also detailed an alleged incident between Nassar and McKayla, in which she claims he drugged her and sexually assaulted her in 2011. “I … learned a few weeks ago from my daughter that at the world championships in Tokyo, [Nassar] drugged her, made her lay nude on a treatment table, straddled her and digitally penetrated her while rubbing his erect penis against her,” Erin wrote. “She was only 15 years old. She said to me, ‘Mom I thought I was going to die.’”
As previously reported, McKayla took to Twitter on October 18, to claim she was sexually abused for years by Nassar. “Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving ‘medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.’ It started when I was 13 years old, at one of my first National Team training camps, in Texas, and it didn’t end until I left the sport,” the athlete, 21, wrote at the time. “It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated.’”
Now, in her own letter to the court, McKayla criticized multiple organizations for turning a blind eye to the doctor’s alleged abuse. “A simple fact is this. If Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee had paid attention to any of the red flags in Larry Nassar’s behavior, I never would have met him, I never would have been ‘treated’ by him,” she wrote. “And I never would have been abused by him.”
Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison in a federal child pornography case on Thursday, December 7. The former doctor also pleaded guilty on Wednesday, November 22, to seven counts of molestation, The New York Times reports. He was expected to face at least 25 years in prison after admitting to sexually assaulting seven girls, three of whom were under the age of 13. He has been accused of inappropriate or abusive sexual behavior by more than 130 women and girls, including Maroney’s teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. His next sentencing is set for January 12, 2018.