She surrendered her secrets to put away a sexual predator. But her sacrifice isn’t over

Courier Journal

Sept. 5, 2019

By Matt Mencarini

Rachael Denhollander always wanted to keep it a secret.

The journal she tucked away in a hidden folder contained her most private thoughts, anguished conversations with herself detailing what her doctor, Larry Nassar, had done to her on his exam table.

The moments he penetrated her with his ungloved fingers, his hand hidden under a towel, while making small talk with her mother, just a few feet away.

“Am I hurting you, Rach?” he whispered close to her ear.

Beginning in 2004, Rachael’s cursive handwriting on each page detailed her vulnerability and her doubts that God cared. She feared she was somehow impure for her future husband.

“Save me O’ God,” she wrote on the first line of the first page.

No one was ever supposed to see that journal — certainly not the man who so horrifically violated her.

Nassar, once a famed sports medicine doctor, had stolen so much — her innocence, her trust, her relationship with her own body. It was the very same thing, the world would later learn, that he’d done to more than 300 other women and girls.

His abuse went on for decades. Olympians. College athletes. Young gymnasts. Women and girls who sought his help. And the 6-year-old daughter of family friends.

What Nassar couldn’t have were Rachael’s deepest thoughts. For 12 years, she locked them away in 31 loose-leaf pages, until the moment she knew they could stop him.

So, Rachael made a sacrifice.

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