Bailey Lorencen, 22, a survivor of sexual abuse by Dr. Larry Nassar speaks to the media after Nassar's sentencing on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexual assault after more than 150 women and girls confronted him in court and spoke of their abuse.

Bailey Lorencen, 22, a survivor of sexual abuse by Dr. Larry Nassar speaks to the media after Nassar's sentencing on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexual assault after more than 150 women and girls confronted him in court and spoke of their abuse.

“They all needed Larry. Gymnastics is punishing. Spend enough hours hoisting your body up and over those wooden gymnastics bars, eventually the skin on your palms rips right open.”

That’s a quote from host Lindsey Smith in the first episode of the podcast Believed, from NPR and Michigan Radio.

In 2018, Nassar was convicted of criminal sexual conduct and federal child pornography charges.

He serially abused hundreds of young women. His victims included household names like Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, but they weren’t all famous. Vox reports that the majority “were students and young female athletes — gymnasts, dancers, and volleyball players.”

At the very minimum, isn’t it unsettling to think that because of Nassar’s expertise treating athletes, he was kept on despite suspicions he was abusing his patients? And that when girls and young women came forward with their stories, no one believed them?

But it happened. For decades.

The purpose of Believed is to discover “how Larry Nassar abused so many for so long.”

In one instance, the police just believed Nassar instead of what his victim reported. And local detectives never referred the case to a local prosecutor for review, to see if this report of Nassar’s behavior reflected an isolated incident, or something worse.

We reached out to USA Gymnastics, and they sent us this statement.

We will never forget the appalling acts of abuse that have forever impacted our athletes and the gymnastics community. We admire the survivors’ courage and strength in sharing their stories, and our goal is to do everything we can to prevent the opportunity for it to happen again. USA Gymnastics is further strengthening its athlete safety policies — including provisions on mandatory reporting and setting boundaries for athlete-adult interaction — to establish greater accountability and make reporting easier. Athletes are the heart and soul of our sport, their safety is of paramount importance to us, and we are focused on making our organization more athlete-centric.

We bring you the latest on what’s happened since Nassar’s conviction and speak with Lindsey Smith about her work.

Produced by Kathryn Fink.

This show will discuss sexual abuse and assault. If you or someone you know needs to speak to someone, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is 1-800-656-4673. You can also use the RAINN online hotline, which you can find here.

Guests

  • Lindsey Smith Investigative reporter, Michigan Radio; co-host, "Believed"; @lzsmitty
  • John Manly Attorney; represents more than 200 women who were abused by Larry Nassar; @johnmanly
  • Tim Evans Investigative and consumer reporter, The Indianapolis Star; @starwatchtim
  • Judge Rosemarie Aquilina 30th circuit court judge, Ingham County, Michigan; sentenced Larry Nassar to up to 175 years in prison; @AquiRosemarie

Topics + Tags

Most Recent Shows

Game Mode: Composer Inon Zur

Tuesday, Jul 16 2019"Fallout." "Dragon Age." "Prince of Persia." Behind these otherworldly games are intricate, otherwordly soundtracks. And behind those soundtracks is Emmy Award-winning composer is Inon Zur.

Yes, My President

Tuesday, Jul 16 2019The president has a long track record of racist statements. Does it matter to his supporters?

Game Mode: Consoles And Community

Monday, Jul 15 2019Sure, some gamers play to detach from others, but increasingly video games are helping people with socialization skills by building communities.