We Failed the Victims of Larry Nassar
How did we let this happen? And how can we do better?
By Katie Packer Beeson, Contributing Editor for Opinion | Jan. 25, 2018, at 12:00 p.m.
The case of Larry Nassar has pained me.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, Larry Nassar was convicted this week of sexually assaulting hundreds of girls and young women during his time as a sports medicine doctor treating, primarily, gymnasts as well as other female athletes in his roles at USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University and a series of gymnastics clubs in Lansing, Michigan. He will spend the rest of his life in prison.
I have paid close attention to this case for a long time. A young woman who is very close to me did gymnastics as a young girl in Lansing. She never encountered Nassar, in spite of many recommendations that she see him for treatment, because her parents made different choices for her medical treatment. But they are keenly aware that “there, but for the grace of God goes my daughter” because of the pressure the world of gymnastics puts on parents and young gymnasts. Many of her friends turned out to be victims. And she is feeling their pain today. It is also close to home because I lived in Lansing for a long time. I didn’t attend Michigan State University, but it was the center of the social scene in Lansing and I regularly attended events on the campus. I have personal friends on the board of trustees. I have met now-former MSU President Lou Anna Simon on several occasions, and I worked in the Michigan legislature with Rose Marie Aquilina, the judge who tried the case.
I have no personal connection to the Olympics, except that I am a fan of gymnastics and after watching Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and our hometown girl, Jordyn Wieber, for many years, I feel like I know them.