Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas on Tuesday added her name to the list of athletes who allege they were sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
The 21-year-old gymnast posted the accusation in a lengthy message on Instagram. Jeff Raymond, a spokesman for Douglas, told The Washington Post in an email, “Gabby is confirming that she too was a victim of Larry Nassar.”
“I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful,” Douglas wrote.
Nassar, 54, previously worked at Michigan State University and as the national team doctor for USA Gymnastics for nearly 20 years before being fired in 2015. On Wednesday morning in Michigan’s Ingham County, he pleaded guilty to seven sexual assaults in and will face at least 25 years in prison.
In addition, Nassar faces similar charges in Michigan’s Eaton County and lawsuits filed by more than 125 women and girls, according to the Associated Press.
“For all those involved, I’m so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control,” Nassar said in court. He had previously denied the charges.
Douglas is among several Olympic gymnasts, including McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, who recently publicly accused Nassar of abusing them. The three athletes were on the 2012 team together, and Douglas and Raisman were also on the 2016 team. Both teams won gold medals.
Raisman criticized USA Gymnastics’s handling of allegations during an interview that aired on “60 Minutes.”
“What did USA Gymnastics do, and Larry Nassar do, to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up?” Raisman said on the program.
USA Gymnastics has said that it’s “appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused” and is “very sorry that any athlete has been harmed …”
Douglas’s allegation comes just days after she faced public backlash for appearing critical of the other accusers, particularly Raisman.
The controversy began last week when Raisman posted a Twitter message that said: “Just because a woman does a sexy photoshoot or wears a sexy outfit does not give a man the right to shame her or not believe her when she comes forward with sexual abuse . . . AND when a women dresses sexy it does not give a man the right to sexually abuse her EVER.”
Douglas retweeted that note, adding, “however it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.” She has since deleted her note.
But her words were met with immediate outcry, particularly among other female athletes. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles wrote that Douglas’s note “shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me . . . honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her.”
On Tuesday, Douglas used her Instagram post to again apologize for her earlier comments.
“I didn’t view my comments as victim shaming because I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you,” she wrote. “It would be like saying because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault we were abused by Larry Nassar.”
“I do not advocate victim shaming/blaming in any way, shape or form!” Douglas added.
She also asked for forgiveness and said that she takes her “job as a role model very seriously” even if “there are times that I fall short.”
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