In letters to a federal court ahead of Larry Nassar’s sentencing related to child pornography charges, Olympian McKayla Maroney and her mother give chilling details about the abuse she suffered at the hands of the former Team USA Gymnastics doctor, reports say.
Maroney, 21, was originally scheduled to deliver a victim-impact statement in a federal courtroom or Thursday, but instead she and other victims (and family members of victims) were instructed by a judge to give statements in the form of letters. Marony and her mom are seeking the maximum sentence for Nassar.
“This experience has shattered McKayla,” her mother, Erin, wrote in a letter to the court obtained by ESPN. “She has transformed from a bubbly, positive, loving, world class athlete into a young adult who was deeply distressed, at time suicidal. At times, I was unsure whether I would open her bedroom door and find her dead.”
Maroney initially revealed the alleged abuse in an October Twitter post, writing then that she was just 13 years old when the abuse began, adding that it lasted until she left the sport.
“Because the national team training camps did not allow parents to be present, my mom and dad were unable to observe what Nassar was doing,” Maroney wrote.
She described an incident that allegedly occurred in 2011 when she competed in the world championships in Tokyo. Maroney wrote that Nassar “had given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting treatment.”
Erin detailed Maroney’s account of the alleged incident in her own letter.
“[Nassar] drugged her, made her lay nude on a treatment table, straddled her and digitally penetrated her while rubbing his erect penis against her,” Erin wrote. “She was only 15 years old. She said to me, ‘Mom, I thought I was going to die.’ ”
Erin added: “I cannot tell you the anguish her Dad and I feel and the responsibility we feel for not being aware of this or being able to stop it.”
Erin wrote that neither she nor her husband were ever allowed at any training facility. She noted that when her husband questioned former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny about the girls’ isolation, Penny allegedly assured them that the girls were safe: “We now know that was a lie,” Erin wrote in a letter, according to ESPN.
Penny resigned from his position in March.
The mother and daughter criticized USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, with Erin writing that the entities “totally failed” the medal-winning gymnast.
Larry Nassar Pleads Guilty to Sexually Abusing Girls in Michigan
More than 130 women and girls have accused Nassar of assault, including gymnasts Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. Last month, Nassar pleaded guilty to a total of 10 criminal sexual conduct charges in a pair of Michigan counties as part of a plea deal. He is scheduled to be sentenced for those counts in January 2018.
Nassar’s lawyers issued a statement obtained by PEOPLE last month after his first guilty plea, which said in part, “As our client indicated in court today, he hopes that his guilty plea begins the healing process for those individuals whom have been the subject of the state criminal prosecution.”
USA Gymnastics also issued a statement following lat month’s guilty plea, stating in part that the organization “is very sorry that any athlete was harmed by Larry Nassar. Upon first learning of athlete concerns about Nassar in 2015, USA Gymnastics reported him to the FBI and relieved him of any involvement with USA Gymnastics … USA Gymnastics also views Nassar’s guilty plea as an important acknowledgment of his appalling and devious conduct that permits punishment without further victimization of survivors. ”
In July, Nassar pleaded guilty to three child pornography charges in federal court, ABC News reported via ESPN. Nassar is expected to be sentenced for the child pornography counts at Thursday’s hearing. It is unclear how long Nassar will spend behind bars, but Maroney urged in her letter for the court to impose the strictest sentence.
“He abused my trust, abused my body and left scars on my psyche that may never heal,” Maroney told the court in her letter. “Larry Nassar deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”