The women's U.S. Olympics Gymnastics team had a dark secret and his name was Dr. Larry Nassar.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Larry Nassar had allegedly been sexually abusing dedicated gymnasts under the guise of treatments.
Because of his reputation of working with athletes, people never really suspected that Nassar was sexually abusing young girls. Now there are tons of athletes stepping forward and opening up about the abuse that they survived.
When word got out, Nassar plead guilty to sexual misconduct charges and was sentenced in December of 2017 to 60 years in prison for child porn crimes.
Many high-profile gymnasts, like McKayla Maroney, came forward and tweeted about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Nassar. You might remember Maroney for not just being one of the absolute best gymnasts on the planet, but for this wonderful disappointed face she made when she took home silver instead of gold.
Maroney sued the U.S. Gymnastics team for how they treated Nassar's sexual assault against her, and she ultimately settled for $1.25 million. Part of the settlement stipulated that Maroney couldn't publicly speak out against Nassar or testify against him.
That didn't stop Maroney for tweeting against Nassar once reports came out, but she quickly removed her post, perhaps because it was in violation of the settlement she agreed to with U.S. Gymnastics.
In fact, if Maroney publicly speaks about Nassar, she could be subjected to a $100,000 fine, which makes her testimony against the doctor in an upcoming hearing a potentially pricey one.
In an interesting turn of events, Chrissy Teigen is more than willing to pay the fine, should Maroney testify.
Teigen's tweet with the offer highlights that a statement needs to be made against the monstrous behavior, and hopefully draw eyes to the sport of gymnastics, which may out other abusers and help keep the sport free from such crimes in the future. It'll also help set a precedent against NDA's being able to protect perpetrators of sexual assault.
And Twitter was all for the gesture and even wanted to up the ante.
Suggestion: start a crowd fund to help victims pay NDA fines so that they can share their story to the public! I’d donate.— Katie / Science Based Evidence 💜🐾 BearsEars (@Feminists32) January 16, 2018
She’s doing the ethical thing by speaking up.
Suppression of victims has to stop! #TimesUp #USAgymnasticsComplicit
thank you for standing by her and everyone affected by this monster, to have a voice like yours supporting them means a lot. The entire thing is disgraceful and never should've been allowed to happen, all we can hope for now is that she and everyone else get the help they need ❤— katie (@Kaaaaatie_x) January 16, 2018
Respect to you for standing behind McKayla and all the women hurt.— Michael Simmons (@micoolnamasi) January 16, 2018
And lawyers started to join the fray to try and change the legality surrounding NDAs and reporting of criminal abuse.
I will represent her to create precedent to make these sorts of NDAs unenforceable.— John Dragseth (@JohnnyDrag) January 16, 2018
Seems like NDAs in general shouldn't be enforceable against disclosing criminal conduct. We need to get some more lawyers on this!— Shailin Thomas (@shailinthomas) January 16, 2018
Maroney's just one of many professional gymnasts who've openly accused Nassar of misconduct.
Simone Biles also took to social media to share that she, too, was a victim of Dr. Nassar's abuse.
Many are hoping that testimonies will shed light on how so many young women were reportedly silenced.
If that does happen it could start a new wave of athletes from other sports stepping forward to hold their abusers accountable.