Maggie Nichols' mother blasts USA Gymnastics over doctor abuse - WNEM TV 5

Maggie Nichols' mother blasts USA Gymnastics over doctor abuse

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An elite gymnast has revealed she was first to alert USA Gymnastics about sexual abuse allegations.

Maggie Nichols came forward publicly Tuesday, Jan. 9. She accused USA Gymnastics women's team doctor Larry Nassar of abuse in 2015.

Nassar is serving 60 years in prison after pleading guilty in a child pornography case. He faces more time for sexual abuse charges.

"It's very, very difficult for her to have to live with this,” said Gina Nichols, Maggie’s mother.

The elite gymnast was the first athlete to report Nassar to USA Gymnastics, but she's only now revealing her identity.

“She's finally decided that she is ready to make this public,” Gina Nichols said. “And help other victims of Larry Nassar. And maybe make it a safer place for other athletes.”

In a statement Nichols said:

"Up until now, I was identified as Athlete A. I want everyone to know that he did not do this to Athlete A, he did it to Maggie Nichols.”

Nichols said the abuse began in 2012 when she was 15 years old.

"These are girls from 12 to 20-year-old girls, these are almost all minors. He was allowed as an adult man in his mid-forties or fifties to do whatever he wanted to as a physician with no supervision, we never gave any parental consent, nobody was ever in the room. He was allowed to do whatever he wanted to with his bare hands,” Gina Nichols said.

"We couldn't even stay in the same hotels with her when she competed for our country all over the world, but then they allowed a molester to do whatever he wanted to our daughter as a minor. But we were supposed to trust USA Gymnastics. It's not OK!” Gina Nichols continued. “Where are the other adults that were there at the Olympic training center, allowing this to go on.”

More than 150 women have now accused Nassar.

Gymnast Jessica Howard spoke about her experience during a #MeToo panel. She described the trauma of coming forward.

"I really, really struggle and I don't know if it's ever going to go away. And I think that's an important thing for people to understand that this doesn't just dissipate the moment you speak up. It's almost the moment you speak up that you can actually start to process,” she said. 

Nassar's sentencing begins next Tuesday. 

In a statement to CBS News, USA gymnastics said: "We are focused on further developing a culture that has safe sport as a top priority throughout the organization."

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