Rais­man: I don’t want to be­lieve that I am a vic­tim

Tehran Times - - WORLD SPORTS -

Triple Olympic gym­nas­tics cham­pion Aly Rais­man has said in a in­ter­view she did not re­al­ize at first that she had been treated in­ap­pro­pri­ately by a doc­tor ac­cused of hav­ing sex­u­ally as­saulted fe­male gym­nasts while he was the U.S. 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 did not im­me­di­ately ac­cuse the doc­tor, Larry Nas­sar, of in­ap­pro­pri­ate or il­le­gal be­hav­ior.

“I was just re­ally in­no­cent. I didn’t re­ally know. You know, you don’t think that of some­one. You know, so I just, I trusted him,” said Rais­man, who says she was 15 when she was first treated by Nas­sar.

Nas­sar has pleaded not guilty to charges of sex­ual as­sault. He is in jail await­ing sen­tenc­ing af­ter plead­ing guilty to fed­eral child pornog­ra­phy charges.

Nas­sar’s at­tor­neys, Matt New­burg and Shan­non Smith, have each said that due to a gag or­der they had no com­ment on the tele­vi­sion pro­gram.

Rais­man said she felt awk­ward about the doc­tor’s be­hav­ior but she 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 are a) vic­tim of sex­ual abuse.”

It was only later that Rais­man, now 23, started to ques­tion Nas­sar’s mo­tives and be­hav­ior.

“He would al­ways bring me, you know, desserts or gifts. He would buy me lit­tle things. So I re­ally thought he was a nice per­son.”

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