Aly Raisman says more people need to be held accountable for the sexual abuse that more than 160 girls suffered at the hands of disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar.
“USA Gymnastics, United States Olympic Committee, [Michigan State University] ― they need an independent investigation,” Raisman said Thursday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.
“This is bigger than Larry Nassar,” she continued. “We have to get to the bottom of how this disaster happened.”
The 23-year-old Olympic gymnast was one of dozens of women to read impact statements about their experiences with Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor, during a seven-day sentence hearing this month. Nassar, 54, was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison on seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree.
“We really are an army of survivors and it’s just the beginning for us,” Raisman said. “I want to make sure that never, ever happens again.”
Lou Anna Simon stepped down as president of MSU on Wednesday, following calls for her resignation from lawmakers and Nassar survivors. Simon said she knew about sexual abuse allegations against Nassar in 2014 ― two years before MSU fired him.
Raisman said MSU isn’t the only organization to turn a blind eye to Nassar’s record of abuse. She’s calling for independent reviews of USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee as well.
″[Nassar] did not have a medical license in Texas, which is where we went to the ranch and trained,” Raisman said. “It’s a national team training center and the Olympic training center... so what does that say about USA Gymnastics and United States Olympic Committee? Whether they knew or didn’t know, that’s a big problem and we need to investigate how this happened.”
“For so long they put medals, reputation and money over the safety of athletes,” Raisman said. “Even now, you see the United States Olympic Committee ― they just spoke out Monday for the first time. They just released a statement for the first time. They have been quiet this whole time.”
USA Gymnastics hasn’t contacted Raisman since she spoke at Nassar’s sentencing hearing, she said.
“They say they want an independent investigation right now,” Raisman said. “But it’s easy to say that when there’s so much pressure and everyone is watching.”
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.