We have lived this story before. And yet, here we are

The Boston Globe

January 25, 2018

By Yvonne Abraham

Because nobody who currently runs the world of elite gymnastics can be trusted. Nobody in that world would protect Larry Nassar’s victims from his horrific sexual abuse. The days of testimony in a Michigan courtroom, which culminated in the doctor’s sentencing Wednesday, have laid bare the utter and cataclysmic failures of officials at USA Gymnastics, at Michigan State, and elsewhere, to keep the children in their care from harm.

Time and again, victims were doubted, their allegations ignored. Winning was everything.

“Your abuse started 30 years ago,” said Needham native and gold medalist Aly Raisman, testifying at the sentencing hearing on Friday. “If over these many years just one adult listened and had the courage and character to act . . . I and so many others would have never, ever met you.”

We have lived this story before. It has been 16 years since the Globe and others exposed the rampant, decades-long plague of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. And yet here we are, as if none of it — nor any of the ensuing sexual scandals in other hallowed institutions — ever happened.

For decades, with the help of officials who required gymnasts to submit to his treatment, Nassar preyed on defenseless girls made more vulnerable by their dreams of winning gold medals in a sport that demanded perfection, and absolute compliance. So far, 150 women have come forward to say he molested them.

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