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U.S. Olympic Gymnast McKayla Maroney Reveals Sexual Abuse, and the Pressure to Remain Silent

In this time of #MeToo, USA Gymnastics publicly supported gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney when she came forward about having been sexually abused for years by the team’s doctor. However, their response prior to that was to attempt to silence her when she first reported the abuse a year ago, asking her to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Maroney is no longer having it.

As reported by NBC News, Maroney and her lawyer filed a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics earlier today. The suit alleges that “USA Gymnastics actually tried to silence her nearly a year earlier by making her sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of a financial settlement she needed to pay for psychological treatment.”

Maroney’s lawyer, John Manly, called the organization’s use of an NDA “hypocritical, immoral and in this case illegal.” He went on to say:

“Those responsible for this should be removed from the Olympic movement and USA Gymnastics. If they would treat one of the most famous athletes in world like this, how poorly would they treat a recreational gymnast abused by her coach.”

In the video report above, NBC reports the details of the abuse Maroney suffered, as well as her public statements about it. Long story short, her team doctor started abusing her under the guise of “treatments,” and the encounters just got scarier and scarier. Meanwhile, that doctor, Dr. Larry Nasser, has since pleaded guilty to molesting 10 girls and possessing child pornography.

Manly is working to free Maroney from the conditions of the NDA she was made to sign, “noting that in California, where the gymnast lives, a victim of child sexual abuse cannot be forced to sign an NDA as a condition of a settlement.” The lawsuit alleges that USA Gymnastics made her sign the NDA so “it could further conceal and shield from public scrutiny, outside investigation, and law enforcement, the true nature of Nassar’s horrific sexual abuse of minors.”

Because as we all know, preserving the reputation of an organization or institution is more important than ensuring the safety of children, right?

image: screencap Jennifer Aniston "Office Space"

Here’s hoping the California courts do the right thing and get this young woman out of this heinous agreement. She’s been through enough.

(image: screencap)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former Mary Sue assistant editor from 2015-18. Teresa's returned to play in the TMS sandbox as a freelancer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.