13:53, January 17 61 0 usmagazine.com

2018-01-17 13:53:02

 

McKayla Maroney’s Attorney: USA Gymnastics Is ‘Silencing’ Her About Abuse

McKayla Maroney’s attorney John Manly has responded to USA Gymnastics’ statement saying they will not financially penalize her if she chooses to speak out against the team’s former doctor, Larry Nassar, at his sentencing.

“USA Gymnastics finally acknowledges that the gag order they forced on Ms. Maroney and her attorney was unenforceable. Sadly, USA Gymnastics continues to make misrepresentations about Ms. Maroney. They say McKayla has ‘always had the right to speak.’ Not true,” Manly said in a statement to Us Weekly on Tuesday, January 17. “Under the agreement’s terms she could not speak in court unless subpoenaed. She could not even have her statement read without fear of a lawsuit against her by USAG. A victim impact statement is a voluntary act. It’s not a subpoena.”

“Let’s be clear. The only reason this statement was issued is because people were outraged at USAG’s behavior toward Ms. Maroney and her family. So outraged that people were kindly offering to pay the six figure USAG penalty so McKayla could speak,” the statement continued. “Everyday Americans get that no one should be silenced about child molestation. This is especially true when the abused is a young athlete who competed in the Olympic Games for our country and brought honor and dignity to our nation. It is truly sad that USA Gymnastics and USOC didn’t and don’t get it. They have no choice to relent because the cleansing sunlight of truth is shining upon them and they can no longer hide their misdeeds.”

As previously reported, Chrissy Teigen and Kristen Bell have offered to pay the 22-year-old gold medalist’s $100,000 fine if she chooses to break her silence about Nassar. The terms of the penalty were included in a non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2016.

“The entire principle of this should be fought — an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla,” Teigen, 32, tweeted on Tuesday, January 16.

The Olympian responded later that day in a statement released by Manly. “I’m not on social media, but I wish I was for this,” she said. “I’m shocked by you generosity and I want you to know how much hope your words bring to all of us! I just can’t get over the fact that someone I don’t personally know is sticking up for me, let alone a strong woman that I’ve looked up to for years!”

“Thank you Chrissy, you’re so inspiring and things are starting to change because of people like you,” she continued. “Just saying that was worth the decision to speak up regardless of a fine. You’re heart [is] pure gold. God bless. All my love, McKayla.”

However, USA Gymnastics previously countered Maroney’s claims that she would be fined for speaking out about Nassar. “USA Gymnastics has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar, nor for any victim impact statements she wants to make to Larry Nassar at his hearing or at any subsequent hearings related to his sentencing,” the organization told Us in a statement on Tuesday. “This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them.”

The news comes nearly one month after Maroney claimed that USA Gymnastics paid her to keep quiet about Nassar’s abuse. Manly filed a lawsuit on December 20 arguing that the organization paid Maroney to sign a confidentiality agreement, according to the court documents obtained by Us Weekly. Her lawsuit aims to nullify the agreement under the conditions that it is “illegal, unconscionable, against public policy and unenforceable.”

USA Gymnastics responded to the lawsuit filed against them later that day. “Contrary to reports, the concept of confidentiality was initiated by McKayla’s attorney, not USA Gymnastics,” their statement read. “In 2016, McKayla’s attorney at the time. Gloria Allred, approached USA Gymnastics, requesting that the organization participate in a confidential mediation process. USA Gymnastics cannot speak to the mediation process, which is confidential and privileged under California law.”

Maroney accused Nassar of sexual abuse in October 2017 and submitted a letter detailing her experience to a judge presiding over the federal child pornography case that the ex-Michigan State University doctor was facing. After pleading guilty to molesting 10 girls and possessing child pornography, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years behind bars on December 7. More than 130 additional women and girls, including fellow Team USA gold medalists Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas, have accused him of sexual misconduct.

Nassar’s sentencing for these charges begins on Tuesday and is set to end on Friday, January 19. According to NBC News, nearly 100 victims will publicly give their accounts.