Los Angeles - US
gymnast McKayla Maroney filed a suit against the US Olympic Committee and
USA Gymnastics on Wednesday, amid reports officials paid her to remain
silent about sexual abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar.
Maroney, a two-time world champion vaulter, helped the Americans win
team golds in the 2012 Olympics and 2011 world championships. She was
the 2012 Olympic vaulting runner-up.
Maroney signed a settlement deal with USA Gymnastics in December 2016
to resolve claims related to years of sexual abuse by Nassar, the
existence of which was revealed in the lawsuit filed at Los Angeles
Superior Court, according to the Wall Street Journal, ESPN and Los
"They were willing to engage in a systemic cover-up of the entire matter," attorney John Manley told ESPN.
The Journal and Times reported the amount of the settlement agreement was $1.25 million.
Manley said Maroney made the deal at a time when she was traumatized
by the news Nassar had sexually abused dozens of other gymnasts under
what he called medical treatment.
"I want people to understand this kid had no choice - she couldn't function, she couldn't work," Manly told ESPN.
USA Gymnastics "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," Manly said.
Maroney says USA Gymnastics "coerced" her into signing the deal
because she was "in need of funds to pay for psychological treatment for
her worsening psychological condition."
Nassar, who treated US gymnasts at four Olympics, pleaded guilty last
month in Michigan to a total of 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Sentencing for seven of those counts is set for January 16.
Maroney, according to ESPN, provided a statement to the court despite
not being among those Nassar was charged with abusing, saying he
"abused my trust, abused by body and he left scars on my psyche that may
never go away. He needs to be behind bars so he will never prey upon
ESPN reported Erin Maroney, the gymnast's mother, submitted her own
letter to the court, saying: "This experience has shattered McKayla. She
has transformed from a bubbly, positive, loving, world class athlete
into a young adult who was deeply depressed, at times suicidal. At
times, I was unsure whether I would open her bedroom door and find her
In all, Nassar is accused in civil lawsuits of sexually abusing more than 140 women during medical exams.
Maroney could be open to a countersuit and $100 000 in penalties for
speaking of the abuse and the settlement, but Manly contends the
settlement deal was illegal under California law.