On Wednesday, 2012 Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, claiming that officials had her sign a confidential financial settlement in an effort to keep her silent about her allegations that former Olympic gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused her, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the LA Times, the lawsuit alleges that the USOC enabled a “culture and atmosphere that conceals known and suspected sexual abusers.”
The lawsuit also reportedly alleges that USA Gymnastics “coerced” Maroney into signing the settlement, which included a “non-disparagement clause and confidentiality provision.”
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Maroney’s settlement was signed in December 2016 and worth $1.25 million.
On December 7 of this year, Nassar was handed a 60-year prison sentence for being found guilty of federal child pornography charges. According to the Washington Post, Nassar was also accused of sexual assault by more than 140 women in civil and criminal complaints.
The USOC has denied it was involved in the settlement payout, or aware of it. “We are heartbroken that the abuse occurred,” said a USOC spokesperson, “[and] proud of the brave victims that have come forward and grateful that our criminal justice system has ensured that Nassar will never be able to harm another young woman.”
USA Gymnastics claimed that it was in fact Maroney’s legal representation at the time that requested the confidential settlement. A USA Gymnastics spokesperson said, “In 2016, McKayla’s attorney at the time, Gloria Allred, approached USA Gymnastics, requesting that the organization participate in a confidential mediation process.”
Maroney’s attorney, John Manly, compared his client’s accusations of being paid off to victims of abuse by priests kept quiet by the Catholic Church, saying, “This was an immoral and illegal attempt to silence a victim of child sexual abuse.”