Almost 100 women and former child abuse victims will testify in court this week sharing accounts of the horrifying sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Larry Nassar, a predatory USA Gymnastics coach who abused hundreds of girls.
The victim, Olivia Cowan, accused the Gymnastics organization of repeatedly ignoring ongoing complaints about Nassar’s abuse and general conduct stating that they are complicit in their role in the abuse they suffered as children.“You failed all of us, and for that, I see you in the same category of criminal as I do the criminal standing before us today,” Olivia Cowan said in court on Tuesday, addressing the roles of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
The victim’s gut-wrenching tales of abuse and lasting effects are expected to get highly emotional, but according to the chief public affairs officer for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Kristen Houser, the statement may be a form of therapy.
The victim’s gut-wrenching tales of abuse and lasting effects are expected to get highly emotional “You go through all these months of keeping a secret, and then the investigation and waiting on the court proceedings. That whole system is not at all a victim-centered experience or a system that is sensitive to the emotional toll on victims,” Houser said. “This is … the one opportunity you get to speak your piece in your own words, unedited, and say the truth about the full picture of how these things impacted your life.”“Today, I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend that is struggling each day to find peace and joy in all the things that once made me happy,” Cowan said.“Every day I miss her. Every day. And it all started with him. It all started with him, and it just became worse as the years went by until she just couldn’t deal with it anymore,” Markham said.According to CNN: Attorney John Manly, who represents 107 victims in civil lawsuits, has argued that Nassar was supported in his abuse by three institutions: USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University.
Each of those “miserably failed” to protect the children under their care, he said late last year. Manly also accused USA Gymnastics of a “brazen attempt” at a cover-up. The organization has dismissed that claim.Last week, star collegiate gymnast Maggie Nichols said that she and a coach reported Nassar’s abuse to USA Gymnastics officials in 2015.In its response, USA Gymnastics cited Nichols’ “bravery” and said it reported Nassar to the FBI in July 2015 and to a different FBI office in April 2016.The group said information from Nichols and another athlete “was important but did not provide reasonable suspicion that sexual abuse had occurred.” Following an interview with a third athlete, information from all three young women was given to the FBI, it said.