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Gymnast Maggie Nichols says she was first to report Nassar abuse to USAG

Posted at 1:29 PM, Jan 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-10 10:21:21-05

Former U.S national team gymnast Maggie Nichols says she was the first gymnast to alert USA gymnastics about former team physician Larry Nassar.

In a letter released today and obtained by NBC News, Nichols said "up until now, I was identified as Athlete A by USA gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University. I want everyone to know that he did not do this to Athlete A, he did it to Maggie Nichols."

Nichols says she first started seeing Nassar to get treated for back pain when she was 15.

"I trusted what he was doing at first, but then he started touching me in places I really didn’t think he should. He didn’t have gloves on and he didn’t tell me what he was doing. There was no one else in the room and I accepted what he was doing because I was told by adults that he was the best doctor and he could help relieve my pain," she wrote.

Nichols says Nassar contacted her on Facebook, telling her how beautiful she was. She reported the abuse to USAG in the summer of 2015, after a coach overheard her talking about the treatments.

"USA Gymnastics and the USOC did not provide a safe environment for me and my teammates to train. We were subjected to Dr. Nassar at every National Team Camp which occurred monthly at the Karolyi Ranch. His job was to care for our health and treat our injuries. Instead, he violated our innocence", says Nichols.

Nichols goes on to say she later found out that Michigan State University had ignored complaints against Nassar going back two decades, and had investigated him for sexual assault in 2014.

"They never told USA Gymnastics. If they had, I might never have met Larry Nassar and I would never have been abused by him", she says.

Nichols joins of group of elite gymnasts in coming forward with stories with allegations against Nassar. That group includes Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and McKayla Maroney.

Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison last month on federal child porn charges. He will be sentenced on sexual abuse charges next week in Lansing. A judge has set aside four days for the sentencing to allow Nassar's victims to read impact statements.