BOSTON (CBS) — Needham’s Aly Raisman claims of sexual abuse by a former U.S. women’s gymnastics team doctor will likely empower other young victims to come forward, a victim advocate says.
The Olympic gold medalist, in a preview of a new “60 Minutes” interview released Friday, claims Dr. Larry Nassar attacked her.
“It was important for her to be able to say, ‘This happened to me and it needs to stop,’ and hopefully others will feel comfortable from her message,” said Katia Santiago-Taylor, advocate with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. “They’ll feel empowered.”
Raisman, now 23, says she was first treated by Nassar when she was 15.
She told 60 Minutes that after the Rio Olympics she spoke to FBI investigators about Nassar, who worked with the U.S. women’s national gymnastics teams for more than 20 years.
Nassar is now in jail.
He pleaded guilty to child pornography charges but not guilty to charges of sexual assault. More than 130 women, many of them former athletes, have filed civil lawsuits alleging that Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of treating them for hip, back, and other athletic injuries.
Raisman, who has won six Olympic medals in the last two summer games, is the second member of the 2012 Olympic gold medal winning team to accuse Nassar of abuse. McKayla Maroney came forward last month.
Raisman told 60 Minutes’ Dr. Jon LaPook a lot of people have asked her why Nassar’s accusers didn’t speak up sooner.
Here is an excerpt of the interview:
RAISMAN: Why are we looking at why didn’t the girls speak up? 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?
JON LAPOOK: You’re angry.
RAISMAN: I am angry. I’m really upset because it’s been– I care a lot you know, when I see these young girls that come up to me, and they ask for pictures or autographs, whatever it is, I just– I can’t– every time I look at them, every time I see them smiling, I just think– I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this.
In a statement to 60 Minutes, USA Gymnastics said it has made major changes since the Nassar scandal broke. The organization says it recently adopted a new “safe sport policy” that requires “mandatory reporting” of suspicions of sexual abuse and also sets standards to “prevent inappropriate interaction” between athletes and adults. “USA Gymnastics is very sorry that any athlete has been harmed…” the statement says, “…we want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe.”
You can watch the entire interview Sunday at 7 p.m. on WBZ-TV.
Managers at the Burlington gym where Raisman trained growing up said Friday they support her and hope she and anyone affected gets the help they need.
Raisman has actively embraced her role as a mentor to younger people in the community, and she is
Raisman also writes about her experiences in a new book that will be released next week called “Fierce.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports