Two months after U.S. Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney, 22, said that convicted USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused her, a new lawsuit brought by Maroney against the U.S. Olympic Committee revealed a $1.25 million settlement between Maroney and gymnastics organization.
In the lawsuit, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Maroney said that the U.S. Olympic Committee knew about the allegations of child molestation brought against Nassar in 2015 but ignored them, going so far as to hide the allegations in testimony before the U.S. Senate. The lawsuit also reveals that Maroney signed a confidential $1.25 million settlement with USA Gymnastics in December 2016, and disputes the legality of the agreement’s non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses.
Additionally, the suit seeks damages from the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University (where also Nassar worked) for negligence, sexual harassment, and other civil claims. Mark Jones, a spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee, told the Journal that the committee learned about the allegations against “a USA Gymnastics physician” in summer 2015 from the organization, and that it was told by USA Gymnastics that authorities were being contacted.
The lawsuit claims that Maroney was “forced to enter” into a confidentiality agreement with USA Gymnastics “after suffering for years from psychological trauma of her sexual abuse at the hands of Nassar, and in need of funds to pay for psychological treatment for her worsening psychological condition.” Violating the terms would result in a fine of more than $100,000. The suit says those clauses are invalid in California, as state laws prohibit confidential settlements in civil matters that could be prosecuted as felony sex offense.
In a statement, USA Gymnastics confirmed that in 2016, Maroney and then-attorney Gloria Allred requested confidential mediation with the organization, but did not expand upon details of the settlement. It’s unknown if other alleged victims of Nassar’s treatment also received settlements from USA Gymnastics, or if board members of the organization knew about Maroney’s settlement.
In October, Maroney posted a statement to Twitter sharing that Nassar had abused her since she was 13 while treating her as one of his hundreds of patients, until she ended her Olympic career in 2013. USA Gymnastics executives say they learned about Nassar’s abuse in June 2015 after a coach overheard discussions from gymnasts at the Karolyi Ranch training facility in Texas. Nassar pled guilty to federal child pornography charges and first-degree state sexual-abuse charges in California and was sentenced to 60 years in prison this month.
“Is it possible to put an end to this type of abuse? It is possible for survivors to speak out, without putting careers, and dreams in jeopardy? I hope so,” Maroney wrote in her post disclosing the abuse. “Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it’s time to take out power back. And remember, it’s never too late to speak up.”