IOWA — Dozens of victims are coming forward to give their testimony during the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics team doctor who has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of child sex abuse.
Nearly 160 victims have now stepped forward, asking to speak in court. Monday marked the fifth day of Nassar’s hearing, as accusers publicly share their horrific stories of abuse.
Iowa native Shawn Johnson East, an Olympic gold medal winning-gymnast from West Des Moines, posted an emotional video on Monday addressing the situation and USA Gymnastic’s role in the the continued abuse.
“An organization I have trusted my entire life has failed miserably,” she said in the nearly six-minute long video.
Trying to hold back tears, Johnson East expresses her support for the victims and notes her belief that the sport’s entire governing system must be completely changed in order to make many young athletes feel comfortable again.
“I think gymnastics is the best sport in the entire world, but if I had a daughter right now I wouldn’t put her in it, and that makes me really sad,” said Johnson East. She continued, “Until we protect these little girls as human beings instead of protect them as gymnasts…we aren’t going to make any progress that is meaningful.”
Johnston East’s full YouTube video can be seen below.