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Aly Raisman says she was threatened over sexual assault claims

2016 Secret U.S. Classic and Men
Aly Raisman
Asher Fair
Modified 13 Feb 2018

Two-time Olympic gymnast and six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman has revealed that she was threatened and ignored when she first accused disgraced former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assault.

Nassar, 54, was just sentenced to 40 to 125 more years in state prison on three more counts of sexual assault earlier this month after being sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on three counts of child pornography in December and 40 to 175 years in state prison on seven counts of sexual assault in January.

The 23-year-old Needham, Massachusetts native made her assault claims public last November. She initially revealed these claims in the summer of 2015 to an investigator hired by USA Gymnastics named Fran Sepler. She claims that her initial allegations against Nassar were met with threats and that she was ultimately ignored.

Here is what Raisman, who also recently suggested that 2012 Olympic team coach John Geddert may have known about Nassar's assault, had to say about the matter, according to CNN.

"I did let Fran know that I was very uncomfortable with (Nassar) and he did touch me inappropriately...I felt like I was sticking up for Nassar too much. I did let Fran know that I was very uncomfortable with him...I got, in my opinion, what I perceived as a threat from Fran."
"It felt like, from the very beginning, Fran Sepler was always on USA Gymnastics' side. Their biggest concern was always just to keep it quiet. We kept reaching out, my mom and I. Obviously, that's not enough for us. We want to make sure this is being investigated and we were told that the FBI was handling it."

Sepler denies threatening Raisman, according to CNN.

"I would never threaten a young person...I was very concerned. If anything I was trying to protect her...We didn't know then what we know now."

However, a text message from back in 2015 reveals that Raisman was, indeed, told to be quiet. Here is what that text message stated, according to CNN.

"I appreciate your interest and concern in this matter...but please remember that there are risks in sharing information at this point. There is a process in place and staying clear of the process will protect you and others."

Aly Raisman and her mother Lynn, who made headlines last month for ripping into Michigan State Spartans men's basketball coach Tom Izzo over his remarks about this scandal, reached out time and time again to make sure everything was being taken care of.

As Raisman stated to CNN, they were told that the FBI was taking care of everything and that the investigation could be jeopardized if they continued to reach out.

Raisman spoke more about being told to be quiet in an interview with ESPN's Outside the Lines just days before delivering her victim impact statement during Nassar's sentencing in Ingham County, Michigan last month.

"I was told [by USA Gymnastics] to be quiet. And I think that when somebody in high power is telling you to be quiet, right when they realized you are abused, I think that that is a threat, and especially when their first concern should be to make sure I'm OK, to get information from me, to see if my other teammates were abused, to see what else I knew, to get to the bottom of it.
"USA Gymnastics just said, 'We're handling this. We got this. Like, stop asking us questions. Don't talk about it because you're going to tip off the investigation.' So I didn't want to jeopardize anything. Come to find out, [USA Gymnastics] didn't report it right away."

In essence, Raisman was told to be quiet so that she didn't interrupt the investigation process, while in reality, nothing was actually being taken care of. By the looks of it, she was told to be quiet simply for the sake of keeping her quiet. USA Gymnastics did not report the assault allegations right away after all.

In another recent development, dozens of girls and women have now claimed that they were assaulted by Nassar even while the FBI was aware of the numerous allegations against him, which further adds to this saga of institutions failing to properly handle these allegations.

Published 13 Feb 2018, 09:42 IST
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