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Maggie Nichols, first Nassar whistle-blower, goes public

By in Press Enterprise on January 9, 2018

By Scott Reid

For 19 months she was referred to only as “Athlete A” in USA Gymnastics, U.S. Olympic Committee, Michigan State documents and court filings, the first known gymnast to tell USA Gymnastics chief executive Steve Penny and other top officials that she was sexually abused by longtime U.S. Olympic and USA Gymnastics women’s national team physician Larry Nassar.

U.S. gymnast Maggie Nichols poses at the Karolyi Ranch Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in New Waverly, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The young athlete’s revelation would trigger 15 months of behind the scenes damage control by USA Gymnastics that led to Nassar being allowed to retire from his Olympic and national team duties without revealing the real reason and in late 2016 a confidential $1.25 million out of court settlement with Olympic champion McKayla Maroney that may have violated a California law prohibiting secret settlements involving cases of potential sexual crimes. These happened while Nassar continued to allegedly molest at least 25, perhaps more than 100, unsuspecting young athletes at the Michigan State’s sports medicine clinic and a high profile Michigan gymnastics club, according to documents obtained by the Southern California News Group (SCNG) and interviews.

It would be weeks before Penny and USA Gymnastics would enlist the FBI and the U.S. Olympic Committee in trying to get a handle—and keep private—what would become perhaps the biggest sexual abuse scandal in American sports history, according to documents and interviews.

Through more than a year-and-a-half and hundreds of pages of documents detailing how Nassar’s abuse extended to as many as 140 victims from coast to coast and USA Gymnastics’ efforts to keep that abuse secret, she continued to be referred to as “Athlete A.”

No longer.

Maggie Nichols, a member of the 2015 World Championships gold medal-winning team and now an NCAA champion at Oklahoma, said in a statement to […]    

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