McKayla Maroney Joins #MeToo Movement, Says She Was Molested

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Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. Gymnast McKayla Maroney has alleged she was molested by a former USA Gymnastics team doctor, adding her voice to the #MeToo movement where people are sharing experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Maroney, 21, alleged she was molested by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, who is currently awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to federal child pornography charges. “People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood,” she wrote, in reference to the allegations about producer Harvey Weinstein.

“It started when I was 13 years old, and it didn’t end until I left the sport,” Maroney continued. “I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.” Maroney ended her involvement with the sport in 2016.

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Several of Maroney’s teammates have accused Nassar of abuse while they were minors, but Maroney is the highest profile gymnast yet to come forward. Nassar, who was team doctor for USA Gymnastics from 1996 to 2015, is due to stand trial over charges of sexually assaulting nine girls, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

TIME contacted USA Gymnastics, the sport’s national governing body and Nassar’s former employer, but they had not provided a statement on Maroney’s allegations at the time of publication. Previously the body has said it was not aware of the allegations against Nassar until July 2015, at which point he was fired.

Maroney was one of the group known as the “fierce five” who won gold in the team gymnastics competition at the London 2012 Olympics. Later in the tournament an image of a “not impressed” Maroney with her lips pursed became an online sensation. She had just won the silver medal in the individual vault finals.

The #MeToo hashtag has been tweeted hundreds of thousands of times in the last few days after actor Alyssa Milano called for people affected by sexual harassment to speak out in solidarity after the Harvey Weinstein revelations. The hashtag has been taken up by people from all walks of life, illustrating the magnitude of sexual harassment.

Said Maroney: “Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it’s time to take our power back. And remember, it’s never too late to speak up.”

TIME also contacted Nassar’s attorney for comment.



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