Many victims of sexual harassment and abuse are generally afraid or unsure as to whether they should come forward with their claims for several different reasons. Sometimes, a victim’s complaint is overlooked while other times they are retaliated against for attempting to address the issue. These are only some of the reasons why many don’t come forward or take years before they work up enough courage to do so.

But, for one Olympic-gold-winning-gymnast, her decision to open up a sexual misconduct case was obstructed when USA Gymnastics reportedly paid her to be quiet. ABC Local 10 News pointed out that McKayla Maroney, while was once silenced, is now coming forward with a lawsuit that was filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against the team’s longtime doctor, Larry Nassar, who sexually abused her.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include Michigan State University, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and Nassar who has already admitted to sexually abusing underage girls. Maroney first came out to the public with these allegations saying that Nassar molested her and it began back when she was 13 years old. She suffered for years from psychological trauma and eventually needed funds to pay for the treatment necessary to help her with these issues. “Maroney was forced to enter into a confidential agreement with USA Gymnastics,” according to the lawsuit.

“A Six-Figure Liquidated Damages Clause was Placed Over the Heads of Maroney and Her Parents.” 

While no other girls who accused Nassar of sexual abuse were “compelled to sign confidential agreements,” Maroney was forced into “an immoral and illegal attempt to silence a victim of child sexual abuse,” according to the Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer representing her. The lawsuit also “alleges the confidentiality provision was forced upon Maroney so that “USAG could further conceal and shield from public scrutiny, outside investigation, and law enforcement, the true nature of Nassar’s horrific sexual abuse of minors.”

Maroney claimed that Nassar repeatedly molested her and that whenever he could find the opportunity to do so, he would. She stated, “It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my silver.” Another gymnast, Aly Raisman, also spoke out stating that she was first “treated” by Nassar when she was 15. She is now 23.

Thankfully, Maloney can now breathe a sigh of relief that this perpetrator who violated her, and many other young girls, is now facing the repercussions for his actions. Nassar has been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges earlier this month and back in November, “he pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and admitted to using his position to sexually abuse underage girls.”

Although he is facing the consequences he deserves and he can no longer abuse anyone else, these girls are forced to live with the traumatic experiences they endured and many may require therapy to help them cope. While it may have been a difficult step for Maloney to take, she did it and anyone else who is a victim of sexual misconduct should also come forward with their claims.

If you live in Los Angeles and are a victim of sexual harassment, let get you connected with a local attorney who specializes in this field that can provide you with support and guidance you need right now.