Little Canada gymnast says she too was abused by U.S. team doctor

Little Canada native and Roseville Area High School graduate Maggie Nichols joined more than 100 women and other high-profile gymnasts saying she was sexually abused by Dr. Larry Nassar.

Nassar is the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who late last year was sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography. 

His sentencing hearing for 10 counts of sexual assault to which he pleaded guilty is set to begin Jan. 18 in Michigan — he’s facing more than 100 years in prison for those charges.

Nichols, 20, in a Jan. 9 statement revealed she reported being abused by Nassar to USA Gymnastics leadership in the summer of 2015.

She said she was first treated by Nassar for an elbow injury when she was 13 or 14 years old and he did nothing unusual. When she was 15, Nichols said, she was having back problems and once again was treated by Nassar. 

Nichols said in the statement that Nassar abused her in a training room when she sought treatment for her back.

“I trusted what he was doing at first, but then he started touching me in places I really didn’t think he should. He didn’t have gloves on and he didn’t tell me what he was doing,” Nichols said in the statement. “There was no one else in the room and I accepted what he was doing because I was told by adults that he was the best doctor and he could help relieve my pain.”

Nichols said she was overheard by a coach talking about what Nassar had done to her and only then did she report the abuse to USA Gymnastics, which she criticized in her statement.

“USA Gymnastics and the [United States Olympic Committee] did not provide a safe environment for me and my teammates to train,” she said. “We were subjected to Dr. Nassar at every National Team Camp which occurred monthly at Karoyli Ranch. His job was to care for our health and treat our injuries. Instead, he violated our innocence.”

Nichols said in the statement that she is doing OK and that her faith in God has sustained her. She also said she will work to protect youth athletes.

“I will strive to ensure the safety of young athletes who have big dreams just like mine and I will encourage them to stand up and speak if something doesn’t seem right,” she said.

Nichols attends the University of Oklahoma and was on the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.


—Mike Munzenrider

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