McKayla Maroney previously spoke publicly about the sex abuse she was subjected to from U.S.A. Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. In a new suit filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday, Ms. Maroney took that allegation a step further by naming several parties, including the United States Olympic Committee, in a complaint that alleges attempts to cover up the sex abuse scandal. Attorney John Manly, speaking on behalf of McKayla, says nondisclosure agreements that the gymnasts were forced to sign were illegal in that they attempted to conceal the abuse of minor children.
Olympic Gold Medalist McKayla Maroney Sues U.S.A. Gymnastics Over Sex Abuse Cover-Up
CBS News reports that Ms. Maroney has also alleged that U.S.A. Gymnastics and Michigan State University were all complacent in attempting to cover up the sex abuse committed by Nassar. Together with Larry Nassar and the United States Olympics Committee, McKayla names a total of four defendants in her court documents, all of whom she alleges played a part in covering up the sex abuse of Olympic gymnasts.
In her lawsuit, Ms. Maroney states that she was compelled to sign an N.D.A. (nondisclosure agreement), which included a significant settlement for damages. The statement suggests the money was used to control what Maroney and her parents said about instances of sexual abuse at the hands of the team doctor.
In a separate public statement, Mr. Manly pointed out that the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S.A. Gymnastics knew all along that forcing minors to sign confidentiality agreements to conceal sexual assault or abuse is illegal. He added that the reasoning behind this type of law is obvious in that such an agreement would permit an abuser to continue assaulting his victims.
"Such agreements are illegal for very good reasons — they silence victims and allow perpetrators to continue committing their crimes. That is exactly what happened in this case," the attorney said in part.
McKayla Maroney Violated Her N.D.A.
Although the document is illegal at its base, there's no question that McKayla Maroney violated the terms of her confidentiality agreement, when she revealed the sex abuse as a part of the recent #metoo movement. According to Vanity Fair, McKayla took the opportunity to come forward publicly, following the early Harvey Weinstein allegations. Although the Olympic gymnast has now removed her social media accounts altogether, she had used them to reveal that she was sexually abused by Nassar, when she was 13-years-old.
"I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting," McKayla wrote in her #metoo post.
Although the abuse began earlier, Ms. Maroney wrote in her public confession that the worst night came two years later. She was 15 and traveling abroad with her team to compete in Tokyo. She recalled getting a sleeping pill on the flight and waking up alone in a hotel room with Nassar. She recalls being told that she was getting a "treatment," although she doesn't say that Larry Nassar gave any further explanation.
McKayla Maroney simply recalls feeling scared and she felt convinced she was going to die alone with her abuser.
Even McKayla's own attorney admits the gymnast could be opening herself up to a countersuit for violating the agreement, but he adds she had no other choice. The scars left behind have affected Maroney's ability to function in society and to work.
"[U.S.A. Gymnastics] were willing to sacrifice the health and well-being of one of the most famous gymnasts in the world because they didn't want the world to know they were protecting a pedophile doctor," said Manly.