Then-17-year-old Brianne Randall-Gay went to Michigan State University to see sports medicine doctor Larry Nassar for back pain in 2004 but ended up being molested. Instead of getting the help she needed from the police, she was shamed. Now, over a decade later, authorities want to apologize.
After telling the Meridian Township Police Department that she had been sexually abused during an appointment, Nassar told officers that the girl was confused. And in the end, the police sided with the doctor.
“You had audacity to tell [the police] I misunderstood the treatment because I was not comfortable with my body,” she told the now disgraced doctor during his sentencing hearing. “Sadly, they took your word instead of mine.”
At the time, Nassar was already with USA Gymnastics, giving him an edge with officials who preferred to place their trust in the hands of a renowned doctor than to listen to a young woman. But now that they are aware that their judgment was flawed, the police department decided to apologize.
On Tuesday, they announced that on Thursday they would be holding a press conference. During the public appearance, Chief David Hall is expected to “issue a public statement and apology on the handling of the 2004 police report."
Randall-Gay said she’s suffered from anxiety ever since the attack took place. And while initially she wanted to simply send a written statement to the court, she decided to appear in person as Meridian Township paid for her trip from Seattle, Washington, to Michigan.
“I am here to tell you I wasn't afraid of you then, and I'm sure as hell not afraid of you now,” she told Nassar during the hearing.
She then went on to urge institutions caring for young girls and athletes to pay attention to the signs of abuse. She added that Nassar kept on abusing young girls and women “because nobody was listening.”
While the police’s apology is sure a sign that they have learned from their mistakes, it’s truly heartbreaking that over 150 girls and women had to suffer abuse before anything was done to stop this monster.
Hopefully, law enforcement agencies everywhere will now be quicker to act when women report their abusers.
Thumbnail/Banner Credit: Reuters