IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney says she was molested by former U.S. team doctor

The Olympic gymnast joined the #MeToo movement of women sharing stories of sexual assault by claiming she was abused by a former Team USA doctor.
/ Source: TODAY

Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney has alleged she was molested by a former U.S. gymnastics team doctor, joining the #MeToo social media movement by detailing her own story of sexual assault and harassment.

Maroney, 21, posted a statement on Twitter early Wednesday morning claiming she was sexually abused multiple times by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar beginning when she was 13 years old.

Nassar, who was the team doctor from 1996 to 2015, has been accused of sexual assault by dozens of athletes and faces 15 first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges in a trial that begins on Dec. 1 in Michigan. He also has been sued by over 100 women in civil court.

Maroney is the most high-profile gymnast to come forward with accusations after three of her teammates, Jamie Dantzscher, Jeannette Antolin and Jessica Howard, claimed on "60 Minutes" in February that Nassar abused them when they were minors.

Nassar has pled not guilty to those charges, but did plead guilty to three child pornography charges in July. He will be sentenced for those crimes on Nov. 27.

Maroney won team gold and individual silver in the vault as part of the famous "Fierce Five" U.S. gymnastics team at the 2012 Olympics. She also gained notoriety for her "not impressed" face that went viral during the Olympics.

In her statement, she wrote that she was "molested" by Nassar starting at her first national team training camp when she was 13. She claims the abuse did not stop until she left the sport last year.

"I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting,'' she wrote.

Maroney's statement comes as numerous women share personal stories of sexual assault and abuse in the wake of allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The hashtag #MeToo was promoted by actress Alyssa Milano last weekend and has encouraged women from all walks of life to speak out about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault.

Maroney wrote that Nassar told her she was receiving "medically necessary treatment" that he had been performing for years. She cited an alleged incident when she was 15 and flew with the team to Tokyo.

"He'd given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a 'treatment.' I thought I was going to die that night."

Maroney hopes that breaking her silence encourages others and shows that it's never too late to speak up.

"People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood,'' she wrote. "This is happening everywhere. Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse.

"Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it's time to take our power back."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.