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McKayla Maroney says USA Gymnastics coach ignored her Larry Nassar abuse claims

The Olympic gymnast says she raised claims about his abuse to a coach and others years before the fallen doctor's arrest on abuse charges.
/ Source: TODAY

Olympic gold-medal gymnast McKayla Maroney says a Team USA coach ignored her specific claims about the molestation she suffered from Larry Nassar five years before the former team doctor was arrested on multiple abuse charges.

Maroney, who said she was molested hundreds of times by Nassar starting at age 13, described in an exclusive interview about one particular time the doctor assaulted her at a hotel room during the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo.

“I was bawling. Naked, on a bed, him on top of me, and I thought I was going to die,” she told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie in a special investigative edition of “Dateline" that aired Sunday.

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Maroney said she opened up about what Nassar did in a conversation with her teammates and a coach, John Geddert, while driving back from a training session.

Geddert allegedly sat in silence but three other people there at the time told NBC News they remember the conversation.

“She basically described in graphic detail what Nassar had done to her the night before,” said Maroney’s teammate, Aly Raisman.

Geddert did not respond to an NBC News request for comment. USA Gymnastics said it did not learn about Nassar’s abuse until four years later.

Maroney said she sunk into a deep despair after seeing that no action was being taken to address her claims.

“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,” she said.

Maroney also shared details about the culture of competitive gymnastics, one full of fear and isolation. She said Nassar exploited the vulnerability she felt by treating her nicely and frequently bringing her food.

More than 200 people have accused Nassar of sexually molesting them under the guise of medical treatment. Nassar has since been sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Both Raisman and Maroney have said a lot of the abuse took place while they were at the former national team training center.

"Me and the girls used to call it "torture camp,’” Maroney said.

Martha and Bela Karolyi, the coaches who ran the Texas facility, admit that their training methods were intense but denied they were abusive.

“Verbally, definitely not abusive,” Marta Karolyi said in the “Dateline” interview. “Emotionally? It depends on the person. You have to be a strong person to be able to handle the pressure.”

Both Karolyis denied they were aware of any abuse by Nassar.