A third member of the Fierce Five team that won Olympic gymnastics gold in 2012 has come forward to say she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar.
In an Instagram post addressing comments she made last week that were viewed as victim shaming, Gabby Douglas wrote, “It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar. I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful.”
Douglas is saying that Nassar abused her, a representative for the 2012 Olympic champion confirmed.
Douglas, 21, is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and part of the Fierce Five in 2012 and Final Five in 2016.
Earlier this month, Aly Raisman — Douglas’ teammate on the last two Olympic teams — came forward to say Nassar had abused her. Last month, McKayla Maroney shared in an Instagram post that Nassar abused her from when she was 13 until she left the sport.
Jamie Dantzscher, a bronze medalist from the 2000 Sydney Games, has also said Nassar abused her.
In a tweet on Friday, Raisman wrote a lengthy note explaining that what a woman wears does not give men the right to abuse her and imploring people to stop shaming victims.
“We are all in this together. If we are going to create change I need all your help,” Raisman wrote.
Douglas retweeted it with the comment, “however it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.” She later deleted the tweet.
Douglas later apologized after Simone Biles, her teammate and the Olympic all-around champion in Rio, tweeted, “shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me… honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly & all the other women out there! STAY STRONG”
Douglas wrote another lengthy post on Tuesday, saying in part, “I didn’t view my comments as victim shaming because I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you. …
“I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them.”
USA Gymnastics did not immediately respond to an email from USA TODAY Sports seeking comment on Tuesday evening.
Nassar was USA Gymnastics’ team physician for nearly 20 years, beginning in 1996. USA Gymnastics fired him in the summer of 2015, but the federation waited five weeks before alerting the FBI.
According to the Lansing State Journal, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, more than 140 women have alleged sexual abuse by Nassar, under the guise of medical treatment.
Through his attorneys, Nassar, who worked for decades at Michigan State University as a team doctor, has denied any wrongdoing.
Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges in July, and he faces 22 to 27 years in prison when he’s sentenced on Dec. 7. He also faces 33 charges of criminal sexual conduct in Michigan and is expected to plead guilty in separate cases Wednesday and next week.
In her biography, Fierce, Raisman, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and captain of the past two U.S. teams, said Nassar gained her trust by bringing her desserts or gifts. It wasn’t until after she was interviewed by a USA Gymnastics investigator in 2015 that Raisman, now 23, realized Nassar had abused her.
“He was a doctor. Who am I as a teenager to go against him?” Raisman told USA TODAY Sports. “Everyone always said he was the best. You’re brainwashed to believe this person is good. As a young teenager, your mind is pure. You don’t think someone can do that to you.”
Raisman has declined to detail the abuse but said it started when she was 15 at a meet in Australia.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Nancy Armour and Rachel Axon