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Olympian 'too innocent' to recognize sex abuse by doc

Sports | Nov 14, 2017
Triple Olympic gymnastics champion Aly Raisman says she didn't realize at first that she had been treated inappropriately by a doctor accused of having sexually assaulted female gymnasts while he was the US team doctor.

Speaking on the 60 Minutes television program, Raisman said she wanted to educate young gymnasts that it was sometimes difficult to understand the warning signs of sexual abuse.

When first interviewed by an investigator hired by USA Gymnastics in 2015, Raisman didn't immediately accuse the doctor, Larry Nassar, of inappropriate or illegal behavior.

"I was just really innocent. I didn't really know," said Raisman, 23, who was 15 when first treated by Nassar. "You don't think that of someone. You know, so I just, I trusted him."

Nassar, 53, has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault, but is in jail awaiting sentencing after admitting to federal child pornography charges.

Raisman said she felt awkward about Nassar's behavior, but thought he was a caring person.

"I said 'well, his touching makes me uncomfortable, but he's so nice to me' ... and 'I don't think he does it on purpose because, you know, I think he cares about me.'

"I didn't know anything differently. We were told he is the best doctor. He's the United States Olympic doctor, and the USA Gymnastics doctor, and we were very lucky we were able to see him.

"I was in denial. You don't want to let yourself believe [you're a] victim of sexual abuse."

More than 130 women have filed civil lawsuits alleging Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of treating them for hip, back and other athletic injuries.

REUTERS



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