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What Aly Raisman is doing to help other sexual assault survivors

The Olympic gymnast is supporting a California bill that would extend the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse.
/ Source: TODAY

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman became a symbol of strength for sexual abuse survivors when she delivered a powerful statement last year in court, condemning former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar.

Now, the three-time gold medalist is rallying along with other survivors to support a California bill that would extend the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse.

Raisman, 24, has joined a group of women accusing former University of Southern California gynecologist George Tyndall of sexual assault and misconduct in advocating for the bill. The women will be in Sacramento Tuesday to lobby for its passage.

Raisman sees strong parallels between their stories of alleged abuse by Tyndall and her experiences with Nassar. She said Nassar sexually molested her under the guise of giving her medical treatment.

"Another doctor has so many survivors, and it's the same story of so many people knew about it and covered it up,'' Raisman told Natalie Morales in an exclusive interview on TODAY Tuesday.

Raisman is looking to help other women who have endured sexual abuse as she continues her own journey toward healing.

"It's not just the fact that I was abused by a trusted adult, it was the fact that there were so many adults around me that knew about it and looked the other way and covered it up,'' she said.

Nassar, who is expected to serve prison time for the rest of his life, was accused of molesting hundreds of girls dating back to the early 1990s.

The new law would extend the time a survivor of childhood abuse in California has to report the crime before the statute of limitations is considered expired.

"I don't think there should be a statute of limitations when it comes to abuse,'' Raisman said.

Tyndall has not been charged but is being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department and a grand jury.

"Dr. Tyndall continues to believe that when all the facts are known, it will be determined that his examinations of students at USC were for the stated medical purpose, and consistent with the standard of care for such examinations,'' his attorney said in a statement to TODAY.

The university settled a class-action lawsuit in October for $215 million after reports said that patients and colleagues had been complaining about Tyndall for years. USC president C.L. Max Nikias resigned last year in the wake of the scandal.

Audry Nafziger and Jamesha Morgan attended USC more than 25 years apart but say Tyndall sexually violated both of them in his position as campus gynecologist.

"He'll never stop until he's locked up,'' Nafziger, who got a law degree from USC and is now a sex crimes prosecutor, told Morales on TODAY Tuesday.

The new bill would allow women like Nafziger, who said she was violated by Tyndall in 1992, to file claims.

Nafziger sees the parallels between the cases of Tyndall and Nassar when it comes to the powerful institutions that employed them.

"It's the same,'' she said. "The organizations are more interested in protecting themselves than in protecting the young people that they're charged with protecting."