McKayla Maroney Says A USA Gymnastics Coach Ignored Her Story Of Larry Nassar’s Abuse
Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar may be behind bars for life, but details of the abuse he inflicted on young gymnasts are still coming to light. In an interview with NBC's Savannah Guthrie that aired on Dateline on Sunday, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney says a USA gymnastics coach ignored her when she told him about Nassar's alleged abuse five years before he was arrested.
Fellow Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman confirmed Maroney's story, telling Guthrie that her teammate "basically described in graphic detail what Nassar had done to her the night before" during a car ride with coach John Geddert after a training session in 2011.
“I can't even believe that I said that out loud in a car like that, but I must have been so desperate at the time,” Maroney told the news outlet.
Geddert has not yet responded to the allegation. He was already under investigation by Michigan authorities, NBC News reported in February, although it's unclear exactly what he's being investigated for. He was also suspended by USA Gymnastics earlier this year, and reportedly said at the time that he planned to retire. Geddert said in a statement last year that he had "zero knowledge" of any abuse, according to multiple reports.
USA Gymnastics said in a statement issued Sunday that it first became aware that an athlete had "expressed concern" about Nassar in June 2015, "which eventually led USA Gymnastics to report Nassar to the FBI and dismiss him from further involvement with the organization."
During Nassar's sentencing hearings earlier this year, several of Nassar's alleged victims claimed Geddert had been physically abusive and forced them to see Nassar for medical attention. One of Nassar's anonymous victims alleged in a statement read in court that Geddert knew Nassar performed an “inappropriate procedure” on her in the late 1990s, when she was 16. The letter claimed that her mother and Geddert agreed that Nassar would no longer give her private medical treatments.
In 2011 — the same year Maroney claims she confided in Geddert — he was accused of physically assaulting an employee at a Michigan gym he owned, The New York Times reports. Two years later, he was also accused of assaulting a gymnast, but he was not charged with a crime in either 2011 or 2013.
Lindsey Lemke, a gymnast who trained with Geddert in Michigan, told ESPN in February that Geddert was "not only physically abusive, but mentally and emotionally as well." She alleged that he once hit her with a vault hand mat and claimed she saw him push other girls off the beam and grab gymnasts by the neck.
"As time went on, he realized that you were going to stay at his gym no matter what because you wanted to be the best gymnast, so he felt like he could treat you any way he wanted," she told ESPN.
The abuse Maroney, Raisman, and more than 250 other female athletes allege they experienced at Nassar's hand painted a picture of a doctor who spent decades preying on underage girls.
Maroney claims she told Geddert of a specific assault by Nassar just before the 2011 world championships in Tokyo. "I just said, 'Last night, it was like Larry was fingering me,'" she told Guthrie on Dateline. Maroney said Geddert didn't respond.
The new claim about Geddert is most significant because of the timing. If Maroney told Geddert she was being abused in 2011, he would have known about the alleged abuse four years before Team USA says it first learned about it — and five years before Nassar was put in handcuffs.