Lansing, MI – Olympic athletes Jamie Dantzscher and McKayla Maroney described Thursday morning how they were abused systemically for years by Larry Nassar while training as part of the national gymnastics team of the United States.
Dantzscher, who won a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics, appeared in person at the Ingham County Circuit Court during the Nassar sentencing hearing on charges of first degree criminal sexual conduct.
Maroney, gold medalist at the 2012 Olympics, did not appear in court but read a statement in the court record.
The two are the most high profile athletes who present statements so far at the sentencing hearing, where it is expected that more than 100 of Nassar's victims will tell their stories.
What the victims of Nassar said when they confronted him court
Dantzscher was one of the first women to publicly accuse the former Michigan State University sports doctor of sexually assaulting young women under the guise of medical treatment.  Nassar was fired by MSU in September 2016 days after Indianapolis Star published a story in which Dantzscher and Rachel Denhollander, a former gymnast from Kalamazoo, described Nassar's assaults, which involved penetrating the vagina and anus with the fingers.  Dantzscher was also among the first victims of Nassar, knowing him when he joined the US national team at age 12 and he was the team's doctor as a volunteer with USA Gymnastics.
During innumerable treatments, he said, Nassar penetrated her with his fingers, got on top of her and rubbed his penis against her, massaged her genitals.
He did not tell his parents or coaches, he said, because he was told to trust Nassar, and because he acted as "good cop" for the hard behavior of his coaches.
"You saw all the physical and emotional abuse and you pretended to be our side," Dantzscher told Nassar on Thursday. "But instead of protecting us and reporting the abuse, you used your power to abuse us too."
Dantzscher said that her years as an elite gymnast had serious physical and psychological damage, and that she spent her adult years struggling with bulimia and depression so severe that she was hospitalized at some point for attempting suicide.
"I could not understand what was happening to me," he said Thursday. "Why I was struggling so much, why I was not proud of my achievements, I had zero self-confidence."
In the summer of 2016, he said, he was talking to a friend who was sexually abused and realized that his friend's experiences and feelings about them were very similar to those he saw Nassar's medical treatments.
After it was made public, "I had no idea there were other victims," he said.
In addition, the initial public response was not positive.
"I was attacked on social networks," he said. "People did not believe me, they believed it.
" They called me a liar. A whore accused me of doing this to get attention.
"But instead of going back, I kept telling my truth," he said. "I found out he was not alone, I later learned that he did it for many years with many, many girls, and his stories were surprisingly similar to mine."
Dantzscher said that making himself public with his story is helping him heal.
Finally, she said, "I'm really proud of something I did in my elite gymnastics career."
Maroney was abused almost two decades after Dantzscher, although his story was very similar.  In her statement, which was read by Auxiliary Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis, Maroney described her early love for gymnastics and her dream of going to the Olympics.
"I did it, I got there," said Maroney's statement. "But not without a price … I had the dream of going to the Olympics and the things I had to do to get there are unpleasant."
Like Dantzscher, Maroney met Nassar when he joined the national gymnastics team of the USA team doctor Like Dantzscher, his treatments included massages and penetration of the genitals.
"He was not a doctor. He was a child molester, "said Maroney. It left scars on my psyche that will never go away. "
In his statement, Maroney said that Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee allowed Nassar to ignore the red flags.
He noted that MSU allowed him to to Nassar to treat patients even while he was under criminal investigation after a patient complained in 2014.
When Maroney and two of his colleagues filed complaints about Nassar to the USAG in the summer of 2015, "he was allowed to retire and MSU was never informed. "
" A simple fact is this, "the statement said," whether Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee. UU I would have paid attention to the red flags, I would never have met Larry Nassar. I would never have abused him.
"It's time to hold the leadership accountable," he said.
Maroney made no reference to the storm on social media this week after it was reported that she would receive a $ 100,000 fine if she gave her a statement at the Nassar hearing because an agreement she made with USA Gymnastics included an agreement of non-disclosure.
What Nassar's victims said when they confronted him in court
Following that report, model Chrissy Teigen said it would be an "honor" to pay the $ 100,000 fine.
"The whole principle of this should fight, an NDA to keep quiet about this serial monster with more than 140 accusers, but it would be absolutely an honor to pay you this fine for you, McKayla," Teigen posted on Twitter.
USA Gymnastics issued a statement saying that Maroney would not do so if she spoke during the hearing.
"USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak," the USAG statement said. "USA Gymnastics continues to focus on our highest priority: the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and to create a culture that strengthens and supports them."