PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The latest dark chapter of one of the largest sexual abuse cases in US history ended on Monday.
Hundreds of female gymnasts sexually abused by their former team’s doctor have agreed to a $380 million settlement in a bankruptcy court with USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committees. Ky.
It was the second nine-figure settlement for hundreds of victims. A local survivor said it must be a turning point to protect other young women.
North Allegheny High School graduate Chelsea Williams was pursuing her dream of becoming a professional gymnast when the abuse occurred.
No amount of money, she said, can make up for the suffering she and hundreds of other young female athletes endured at the hands of then-team doctor Larry Nassar.
After graduating from North Allegheny High in 1999, Williams continued to pursue her passion for gymnastics at the University of Michigan. Williams said she was first assaulted at the age of 16 while walking with a competitive gymnastics club. She was then assaulted dozens of times in her 20s.
Since then, the struggle to mend and the years of fighting the law have yielded intact emotions. Williams does an intensive EMDR therapy that she says helps address emotional triggers.
“I had a really great therapist who guided me through the trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder,” Williams tells KDKA.
The total number of abuse victims is more than 500 people, including Simone Biles, an Olympic gold medalist.
Nassar, a longtime doctor of USA Gymnastics, admitted to using his trusted medical position to attack and harass girls.
Williams said parents need to educate their children about abuse and when and how it can happen.
“I think these things happen to someone you are very close to,” she said. “It’s a family member, it’s a friend, it’s your parents’ best friend.”
For Williams and many women, it was bravery born of necessity after they said the abuse was reported but even the FBI wiped it out.
Williams feels the problem of abuse is pervasive.
“It’s not just gymnastics,” Williams said. “This is USA Swimming, USA Figure Skating and countless other sports where this is happening. And it’s not just sports.”
Williams added: “You cannot retract that a child has been sexually abused. “How much a little girl is worth, they are worth everything.”
The most important chapter of this story, Williams said, is still to come. As part of the settlement, at least one survivor will be on the board of USA Gymnastics to help train, protocol, and protect the athletes.
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/12/15/chelsea-williams-pittsburgh-native-victim-larry-nassar/ Chelsea Williams, Victim of Larry Nassar, Says Latest Deal Must Be Turning Point to Protect Other Women – CBS Pittsburgh