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