McKayla Maroney is suing USA Gymnastics claiming they tried to silence her abuse story, contributed to anxiety and depression and cost her millions of dollars when she was driven from gymnastics.
Maroney claims in the lawsuit filed on Wednesday that officials paid her to sign a confidential non-disclosure agreement to keep secret the allegations that she had been sexually abused by former team doctor Larry Nassar.
The 22-year-old revealed on Twitter in October that Nassar had allegedly molested her for seven years beginning when she was 13.
Sources told the Los Angeles Times that Maroney received $1.25 million in the settlement to pay for psychological treatment.
The lawsuit alleges that the settlement was illegal and ‘for the purpose of silencing a known victim of Nassar.’
Her lawyer John Manly said Maroney entered willingly into the agreement but is now seeking to have her released from it. Manly, who wasn’t part of the negotiations at the time, says it was in violation of California law because child sex abuse victims cannot be forced to sign non-disclosures in the state for settlements.
‘I want people to understand that this kid had no choice. She couldn’t function. She couldn’t work,’ Manly told ESPN.
‘They (USAG) 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.
‘We’re basically saying USAG and its lawyers violated the law by asking McKayla to agree to it and that she should be free to talk about her abuse to whomever she wants, whenever she wants.’
Maroney is said to suffer from anxiety and depression and is terrified that Nassar took photos of her alleged sexual abuse, according to the lawsuit.
‘Nassar would continuously, obsessively and compulsively photograph McKayla Maroney and is believed to have possessed thousands of photographs of McKayla Maroney competing in gymnastics events, training, in everyday situations,’ the court papers state.
‘McKayla Maroney alleges that she believes photographs were taken of her while Nassar was sexually abusing her under the guise of treatment. McKayla Maroney is further informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that these photographs were shared by Nassar with other pedophiles for their sexual gratification.
‘McKayla Maroney continues to worry, distress, experience concern, anxiety, and depression over whether Nassar’s photographs of her are still circulating through the internet, and whether they are possessed by other pedophiles and sexual deviants, and whether she will ever know how widely these photographs have been shared or whether they will eventually surface later in her lifetime.’
The suit also alleges that Maroney lost millions of dollars because the trauma of the alleged sex abuse drove her from the sport.
In addition to USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee, the suit also seeks damages from Michigan State University where Nassar worked for decades.
Nassar is currently in prison in Michigan after he was sentenced to 60 years earlier this month possession of child pornography.
The pornography, which included more than 37,000 of images and videos depicting children as young as infants, was discovered last year while Nassar was under investigation for assault.
He is still awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges in addition to being sued by over 125 women in civil court who claim he sexually assaulted them.