United States

Plano Gymnast Comes Forward Claiming Abuse by Larry Nassar

She's an elite athlete, a world champion gymnast and now, Plano’s-own Alyssa Baumann said she too is a survivor of sexual abuse.

Baumann has come forward accusing jailed former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

Like so many other young women, she said the abuse could have ended much sooner.

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Baumann said sexual abuse at the hands of Nassar began in 2013, often during training at the famed Karolyi Ranch near Houston.

She said Nassar gained trust by acting like a friend.

“He would bring us food when we were hungry or he would just talk to us and we thought that he was someone that we could go to in times of need and support,” Baumann said.

The abuse by Nassar continued through 2015, according to a lawsuit filed by Baumann’s attorney in August. The suit was filed under the plaintiff name “Jane Doe.”

Since coming forward publicly last week, Baumann’s attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel said the lawsuit will be amended to include Baumann’s name.

According to the lawsuit, the abuse happened on “approximately 40 or more separate occasions,” including National Team camps at Karolyi Ranch in Houston and three competitions: the U.S.A. Gymnastics National Championships in Pittsburgh, the U.S. Secret Classic in Chicago, and the 2014 World Championships in China, where Baumann said the worst abuse occurred.

“At the World Championships, we were in a hotel room for treatment and a lot of times I would be left in there alone with him and it was a scary feeling,” she said.

Baumann said the team was forced to be treated by Nassar every day.

She said she kept injuries secret to avoid spending even more time with Nassar.

“At a certain point, I had to tell him and it occurred even more frequently with that,” Baumann said.

Baumann said Nassar claimed his actions were for medical benefits.

She said conversations with Olympic gold medalist and Nassar victim Aly Raisman helped her accept something was wrong.

“I realized that everything she was saying was also happening, was also happened to me,” Baumann said.

She said it was a conversation at Karolyi Ranch in 2015 between herself and other gymnasts that led to Nassar's downfall.

“It just happened to come up we were like ‘Oh yes, that treatment makes us uncomfortable’ and a coach overheard us and immediately reported it,” Baumann recalled.

But, she said it took two years for anyone to follow up.

“Angry, upset, confused, I mean, all of the above,” she said.

Despite her frustration, she said coming forward feels like a weight is lifted.

She hopes sharing her story helps lead to a cultural change at USA Gymnastics, ensuring future gymnasts feel safe competing in the sport she loves.

Baumann is now a gymnast at the University of Florida.

Nassar and USA Gymnastics are among the defendants named in the lawsuit filed by her attorney in August.

USA gymnastics responded to the lawsuit saying it's committed to building a culture that empowers athletes including speaking up about abuse.

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