McKayla Maroney, a gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, called Nassar a “monster human being,” while a former member of the U.S. national team said his abuse led to depression and an eating disorder
Another gymnast said she was only 6 years old when Nassar began molesting her and blamed the doctor for her father’s suicide once he realized she had not been lying about the abuse she endured.
“I’ve been forever changed by all of this and I will never feel small again,” Bailey Lorencen said after the sentencing. She had been an anonymous accuser until she spoke in court this week. “I have a different confidence in myself as a woman.”
In addition to Raisman and Maroney, Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas went public in recent months with their own accusations against Nassar.
Nassar pleaded guilty in November to seven counts of first-degree sex assault in Ingham County, as well as three charges in Eaton County, where he is due to be sentenced next week.
Around 140 victims have filed a lawsuit against Nassar, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University (MSU), claiming the institutions knew about allegations of abuse years ago and failed to act. The gymnastics body and the school have asked a judge to dismiss the cases.
“As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger,” MSU President Lou Anna Simon said in her resignation letter.
“We agree with Dr. Simon that it is now time for change,” Brian Breslin, chair of the university’s board of trustees, said in a statement.
Some of the sport’s biggest names, most notably Raisman, have said USA Gymnastics is in need of reform.
On Monday, three board members resigned in the wake of the scandal, following the exit last March of the federation’s president and chief executive.
But that was not enough for the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). On Wednesday, its chief executive, Scott Blackmun, said in an open letter that “all current USA Gymnastics directors must resign.”
He also said the USOC would launch an independent, third-party investigation into the Nassar scandal to determine “when complaints were brought forward and to who.” He said the results would be made public.
USA Gymnastics replied that it supports the open letter but did not address the calls for the mass resignation. According to its web page, it has 18 directors.
Kerry Perry, who became USA Gymnastics president in December, on Wednesday applauded the sentence and vowed to “create a culture that empowers and supports” the programme’s athletes.
Several companies have announced they would not continue to sponsor the federation, including AT&T Inc on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Steve Friess in Lansing, Michigan; Additional reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver, Jonathan Allen in New York, Chris Kenning in Chicago and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Writing by Joseph Ax; Editing by Cynthia Osterman, Bill Trott and Lisa Shumaker)