Maggie Nichols' mother blasts USA Gymnastics over doctor abuse

Maggie Nichols comes forward
Maggie Nichols comes forward 03:25

An elite gymnast has revealed she was first to alert USA Gymnastics about sexual abuse allegations. Maggie Nichols came forward publicly on Tuesday and accused USA Gymnastics 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. Last February, three gymnasts spoke out for the first time to "60 Minutes" about their sexual abuse. 

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

Maggie says the abuse began in 2012, when she was fifteen years old, reports CBS News' Jon LaPook. 

"It's very, very, very difficult for her to have to live with this," said Gina Nichols, Maggie's mother. "She's finally decided that she is ready to make this public and help other victims of Larry Nassar and maybe make it a safer place for other athletes."

"These are 10- to 20-year old girls, these are almost all minors," Gina Nichols said. "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 parental consent....Nobody was ever in the room. He was allowed to do whatever he wanted to with his bare hands."

ctm-011018-ginanichols.jpg
Gina Nichols CBS News

"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 said. "Where are the other adults that were at the Olympic training center, allowing this to go on." 

More than 125 women have now accused Nassar. Gymnast Jessica Howard spoke to "CBS This Morning" about her experience during our #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 that you speak up that you can actually start to process," Howard 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."