The day before former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar will be sentenced for multiple counts of sexual abuse in an Ingham County, Michigan, court, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles has come forward with her own story of abuse at his hands.
“I too am one of the survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” Biles tweeted in a lengthy statement on Monday (Jan. 15) under the caption “Feelings… #MeToo.”
“Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper,” the Olympian continued. “There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but now I know it is not my fault.”
Reportedly 140 women, including Olympic gymnasts McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas, have now accused Nassar of sexual abuse during his time as a doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. Nassar faces 40 to 125 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting seven girls. Sentencing in Ingham County’s circuit court is set to begin Tuesday.
In December, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.
In her statement on Monday, Biles wrote that she was “TOLD to trust” Nassar and has long asked herself, after the alleged abuse, whether she was too naive or whether it was her fault.
“I now know the answer to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault,” Biles wrote. “No, I will not and I should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others.”
Biles added that she is heartbroken that she will train for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the same training facility where she says she was abused, but that she has been convinced “this horrific experience does not define me” by other friends and survivors coming forward with stories of assault.
“We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and to so many of us,” Biles wrote. “We need to make sure something like this doesn’t happen ever again.”
Minutes after Biles shared her story on Twitter, teammate Aly Raisman, another Nassar accuser, tweeted, “I am so proud of you. You are incredible Simone. I stand with you. I am shaking reading your post. I know we will all get through this together.”
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 15, 2018
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.