McKayla Maroney Paid $1.25M to Keep Quiet About Sex Abuse

According to report on confidentiality agreement with USA Gymnastics
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2017 2:34 PM CST
In this Aug. 17, 2013 file photo, McKayla Maroney smiles after competing on the floor exercise during the US women's national gymnastics championships. Maroney says USA Gymnastics forced her to sign a...   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola,File)

(Newser) – A lawyer for McKayla Maroney says the Olympic great was forced into signing a confidentiality agreement by USA Gymnastics to cover up her sexual abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar, the Wall Street Journal reports. A lawsuit filed Wednesday by attorney John Manly says Maroney had been "suffering for years from psychological trauma" after being abused by Nassar and needed money for "psychological treatment." The gymnast's silence was reportedly bought for $1.25 million. "If they would treat one of the most famous athletes in world like this, how poorly would they treat a recreational gymnast abused by her coach," NBC News quotes Manly as saying. Nassar has been accused of sexual abuse by dozens of gymnasts, and Manly says USAG attempted a "systematic cover-up of the entire matter," ESPN reports.

The confidentiality agreement signed by Maroney in December 2016 was broken by Maroney in October when she tweeted allegations against Nassar. She says Nassar's abuse started when she was 13 and lasted until she left gymnastics in 2013. Nassar pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct last month. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, Maroney is seeking damages from the US Olympic Committee and others. Manly says it was "hypocritical, immoral, and in this case illegal" for USAG to ask Maroney to enter into a confidentiality agreement. "Confidentiality agreements in child sex abuse cases are unlawful in the state of California and have been for years," he says. It's unknown if USAG entered into confidentiality agreements with any other Nassar accusers. (Read more McKayla Maroney stories.)

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