BOSTON (CBS) – Athletes involved in USA Gymnastics’ seismic sexual abuse scandal say they’ve achieved a moral and a legal victory. “This moment…when I look back, just might have made everything worth it,” said Marcia Frederick. As America’s first world champion female gymnast, she is used to toughing it out, but her battle with USA Gymnastics has put even her to the test.
“I was sexually abused for just about two years,” said Frederick, referring to her former coach, who she says abused her in the 1970’s and in 1980. “I told my parents, and I told the owner of the gym, and the head coach,” she said. “I was somewhat ostracized, and I was actually met with silence.”READ MORE: Fire That Destroyed 2 Dracut Police Cruisers Was 'Intentionally Set', Officials Say
Finally, what she and her attorney consider an Olympic sized win. Frederick, who lives in Assonet, Massachusetts, sits on the Survivors Committee. The group reached a joint settlement in U.S. Bankruptcy Court worth $425 million, to be divided up between 500 sexual abuse survivors, including Aly Raisman and other victims of the former USA Gymnastics Dr. Larry Nassar, and coaches facing similar accusations.READ MORE: Moderna's Vaccine Is Most Effective Against COVID Hospitalization, But Pfizer And J&J Also Protect Well, CDC-Led Study Says
“Things are moving forward finally,” said Frederick. Aside from the money, the settlement demands the organization make it easier to report abuse. For the first time, survivors will sit on the board of directors, and Frederick will be a part of a new task force to ensure USA Gymnastics sticks to its commitment.
“It will be a framework moving forward we think in other cases, not just with athletes or gymnasts, but also other cases involving large institutions,” said Frederick’s attorney Kim Dougherty, with the Justice Law Collaborative in South Easton.MORE NEWS: Framingham Latest Community To Ask National Guard For Help Driving Students To School
“I’m not saying light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know where the end of the tunnel is,” said Frederick. “But it definitely is a light, and it’s the brightest light I’ve seen in a long time.”