Biles admits she was also abused by jailed doctor

US gymnast Simone Biles, who won four golds at the Rio Olympics, said the behaviour of former national team doctor Larry Nassar was "disgusting".
US gymnast Simone Biles, who won four golds at the Rio Olympics, said the behaviour of former national team doctor Larry Nassar was "disgusting".

NEW YORK • After having vocally supported her team-mates as they publicly detailed the sexual abuse they endured, Simone Biles, one of the most decorated gymnasts in Olympic history, added her own name on Monday to the list of those who have accused Lawrence Nassar of sexual abuse.

"I, too, am one of the many survivors who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar," Biles, 20, said in a statement posted on Twitter.

"Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault."

Nassar, a former team physician for both USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where he was a faculty member, has been accused by more than 130 women of sexual abuse.

The 54-year-old was sentenced to 60 years in prison last month for a conviction related to child pornography, and he is awaiting additional sentencing after having pleaded guilty to one set of molestation charges, which could bring a life sentence.

More criminal charges are likely and a group of accusers has also filed a civil case against him.

Biles, who won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, joins a number of top-level gymnasts who have accused Nassar of abuse, including Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

Nassar's attorney, Matt Newburg, said he had no comment.

Biles added: "It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the 'special' treatment.

"This behaviour is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone whom I was told to trust."

Biles, who also won a record three successive world all-around titles before Rio, said the alleged incidents left her broken and the more she tried to "shut off the voice in my head, the louder it screams".

The American has been an elite gymnast since 2011 and, after taking a break to enjoy life away from the gym, she is now training and planning to make her return at the US Classic in late July with the goal of competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

NYTIMES, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2018, with the headline 'Biles admits she was also abused by jailed doctor'. Print Edition | Subscribe