Watch CBSN Live

McKayla Maroney says USA Gymnastics tried to silence her sex abuse story

LOS ANGELES -- Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney says the group that trains U.S. Olympic gymnasts forced her to sign a confidential settlement to keep allegations of sexual abuse by the team's doctor secret. Maroney filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Los Angeles against the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics.

The suit also seeks damages from Michigan State University, where the team's doctor, Larry Nassar, worked for decades. 

The lawsuit alleges that the settlement was illegal and "for the purpose of silencing a known victim of Nassar." 

USA Gymnastics said they are "disappointed" by the lawsuit, but they "applaud McKayla and others who speak up against abusive behavior, including the despicable acts of Larry Nassar." 

"We want to work together with McKayla and others to help encourage and empower athletes to speak up against abuse," USA Gymnastics said in a written statement. "USA Gymnastics' new CEO Kerry Perry is eager to speak personally with McKayla to hear her ideas on how to move the sport forward and to discuss the many safe sport enhancements that have already been implemented at USA Gymnastics." 

MSU declined to comment on the "ongoing litigation out of respect for the process and everyone involved."

John Manly represents more than 100 girls and young women, including Maroney, who allege sexual abuse by Nassar. Manly is accusing USA Gymnastics of covering up Maroney's sexual abuse by having her sign a nondisclosure agreement.

"Of course it's a cover-up," Manly told CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook on "CBS Evening News." "If you're not trying to cover it up, why keep it quiet? They wanted to keep their dirty laundry quiet, and they were willing to sacrifice McKayla's health and well being and voice to do that. And that's just wrong."

Maroney says she accepted the settlement in December 2016 after "years of psychological trauma" and sexual abuse. The terms weren't disclosed in court papers. 

Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney says she was abused by team doctor

"I was molested by Dr. Larry Nassar, the team doctor for the U.S. Women's National Gymnastics Team, and Olympic Team," Maroney wrote. "Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving 'medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.'"  

Maroney said the abuse began when she was 13 years old at a training camp in Texas. It continued through the end of her gymnastics career, including in London in 2012 before the Olympics.  

In October, she posted a statement to Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo, joining countless victims of sexual harassment and assault who have posted about their experiences in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.  

Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor, has admitted to sexually assaulting female gymnasts, possessing child pornography and molesting girls who sought treatment. Other high-profile gymnasts, including 2000 bronze medalist Jamie Dantzscher and Maroney's 2012 teammates Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman.

Raisman told LaPook on "60 Minutes" that she "trusted" Nasser because he was the USA Gymnastics doctor.

"Why are we looking at why didn't the girls speak up?" Raisman said. "Why not look at what about the culture? What did USA Gymnastics do, and Larry Nassar do, to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up?"

View CBS News In