On Monday afternoon, one of the greatest Olympic gymnasts of our time broke her silence about the impending trial of Larry Nassar, the ex-team USA gymnastics doctor who is currently standing trial for sexually abusing minors during a period which stretches back to the London games, including girls who were as young as six.

In Simone Biles’ statement, which was released via her official Twitter account, Biles says “I am not afraid to tell my story anymore. I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar… For too long I have asked myself, ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answers to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG [USA Gymnastics], and others.”

There will be nearly 100 women testifying as to what Nassar used his power and position to do to them and their bodies, under the auspices of being a trusted team doctor and sports doctor at Michigan State University. In addition to Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabrielle Douglas and Kayla Maroney from the Olympic team have all alleged similar accounts in recent months, but will not be telling their stories in court.

The case, as reported by ESPN’s Jon Barr and Dan Murphy also speaks to the culture around Nassar. His tenure at the Olympics and MSU was filled with enablers who allowed Nassar to abuse athletes for years with no attempts to stop his predatory and indecent behavior, leading to 22 counts of felony first degree criminal sexual conduct.

Barr and Murphy ask in an opening paragraph:

Understanding how Nassar gained unfettered access to young girls and young women over the course of a quarter-century — despite repeated warning signs — means confronting an uncomfortable truth: He didn’t gain that access alone. Nassar was surrounded by a collection of adults who enabled his predatory behavior — a group that included coaches of club, collegiate and elite-level gymnasts, the USA Gymnastics organization, medical professionals, administrators and coaches at Michigan State University, and gymnasts’ parents, whom he groomed just as effectively as those he violated. Now that so much of the Nassar tragedy has been exposed, a lingering question remains: Were each of those enablers complicit or simply conned by a man described as a master manipulator?

That is the question indeed.

 

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