INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics says McKayla Maroney is free to break a non-disclosure agreement and speak out about abuse by Doctor Larry Nassar. That announcement comes as victims will start day two of testimony during Nassar’s sentencing in Michigan.
USA Gymnastics sent the following statement to USA TODAY Sports Tuesday night:
“USA Gymnastics has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar, nor for any victim impact statements she wants to make to Larry Nassar at this hearing or at any subsequent hearings related to his sentencing. This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them.”
Maroney first explained her predicament on Twitter saying that she had signed an NDA in December of 2016. That’s when she says she vowed to remain quiet about Nassar’s abuse in exchange for $1.25 million. It also included a clause that stated USA Gymnastics could fine Maroney $100,000 if she violated the agreement.
Once model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen heard that story, she took to Twitter even offering to pay the fine stating:
“The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla.”
Maroney responded to Teigen’s offer through her attorney saying:
“I’m not on social media right now, but I wish I was for this! I’m shocked by your generosity, and I just want you to know how much hope your words bring to all of us! I just can’t get over the fact that someone I don’t personally know is sticking up for me, let alone a strong woman that I’ve looked up to for years.”
Maroney is just one of the some 140 women who have accused Nassar of sexually abusing them. The first victim to make a statement on day one of sentencing Tuesday was Kyle Stephens. She says that Nassar’s abuse began when she was just six years old.
“Perhaps you have figured it out by now but little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that in turn destroy your world,” said Stephens.
Stephens also said that Nassar had convinced her parents that she was lying about the abuse. She says that ultimately led to her father’s suicide. She said he had difficulty coping after he realized she had been telling the truth.
Maroney has not said if she will make a statement during the sentencing.