OKEMOS, MI (WLNS) – It’s been more than a year since allegations of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar came to light.
Since then, women and girls who say Nassar abused them under the guise of medical treatment have not only filed lawsuits, but have spoken out publically.
Within the past couple of months, those public statements are encouraging even more women to speak out.
Women from all different backgrounds, including those who represented our country in the Olympic games, have shared similar stories of alleged sexual abuse by Larry Nassar.
The most recent to come forward is three time Olympic gold medalist, Aly Raisman.
Aside from the criminal cases against the former doctor, more than 130 women and girls are part of a civil lawsuit which names Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics as defendants.
Discouraged by how this past year has played out, some of the women who are part of that lawsuit have decided to reveal their real names and identities with hopes of being the faces of change in culture.
Over the weekend, the four women described how this past year has affected their lives, but it’s not just the alleged abuse by Nassar that has them tossing and turning at night.
In fact, it’s not the reason they are speaking out publicly, either.
They say they’re angry with how institutions like MSU have handled the allegations.
It’s worth mentioning, that MSU has issued a number of statements and launched a website to show its commitment to “cultivating a safe and inclusive campus community characterized by caring and respect for others.”
Because of ongoing lawsuits, MSU says it’s limited in what its administration is able to discuss, but the women who are speaking out publicly for the first time say the silence is causing frustration. They say they feel betrayed by the people and institutions they once trusted.
“If USAG has people resigning, apologies being made, changes, where is that with MSU? Why is no one taking responsibility?” Jessica Smith said. “Not that it’s about blame but where is people taking responsibility because they have failed and until someone takes responsibility they will continue to fail, in my eyes and in the eyes of people who need them to step forward and do the right thing.”
Since the scandal broke in September of 2016, both MSU and USA Gymnastics have issued statements on the allegations.
MSU fired Nassar in September 2016 amid allegations of sexual assaults. It also made changes to it’s health policies.
USAG has made changes in both leadership and policies when it comes to detecting and reporting signs of abuse.
This week, during stories you’ll only see on 6 News, we’ll introduce you to each of the women and share the message they are hoping to send.
We’ll also tell you more about how MSU and USAG have responded to the scandal.
Nassar faces more than 20 first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges in Ingham and Eaton County.
While he has maintained his innocence in the state cases against him, he pleaded guilty to three child pornography charges in federal court.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in the federal case the first week of December.
That same week, his trial in Ingham County is expected to start.
In the meantime, the mediation phase in the Nassar lawsuits will be extended another 30 days to December 6th.