PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The latest dark chapter in one of the largest molestation cases in U.S. history ended on Monday.
Hundreds of female gymnasts sexually abused by their former team doctor agreed to a $380 million settlement in a bankruptcy court with USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.READ MORE: Idaho Lawmaker Wants Flags At Half-Staff Once Yearly For Abortions
It’s the second nine-figure settlement for hundreds of victims. A local survivor said this must be a turning point to protect other young women.
North Allegheny High School graduate Chelsea Williams was pursuing her dream to be a professional gymnast when the abuse took place.
No amount of money she said could ever compensate for the suffering she and hundreds of other young female athletes endured at the hands of their then-team doctor, Larry Nassar.
After graduating from North Allegheny High in 1999, Williams went on to pursue her passion for gymnastics at the University of Michigan. Williams said she was first assaulted at 16 years old while traveling with a competitive gymnastics club. She was then assaulted dozens of times in her 20s.
Since then, the struggle to heal and the years of legal battling have been riddled with raw emotions. Williams does an intensive EMDR therapy that she said helps with emotional triggers.
“I have a really amazing therapist that has guided me through the process of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder,” Williams shared with KDKA.
The number of abuse victims totals more than 500, including Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles.READ MORE: Student Killed In Shooting Outside Oliver Citywide Academy
Nassar, the longtime doctor for the USA Gymnastics, admitted to using his trusted medical position to assault and molest girls.
Williams said parents need to lead their children into understanding abuse and when and how it can happen.
“I think these things happen with someone you are very close to,” she said. “It’s a family member, it’s a friend, it’s a best friend of your parents.”
For Williams and many of the women, it’s been bravery born out of necessity after they said the abuse was reported but even the FBI swept it under the rug.
Williams feels the issue of abuse is widespread.
“This is not just gymnastics,” Williams said. “This is USA Swimming, there’s USA Figure Skating and a multitude of other sports that are having this happen. And it’s not just sports.”
“You can’t take back that a child got sexually abused,” Williams added. “What’s a little girl worth, they’re worth everything.”MORE NEWS: Suspect In Custody After 3 Shot In Clearview Mall Parking Lot
The most important chapter in this story, Williams says, is still to come. As part of the settlement agreement, at least one survivor will be on the board of USA Gymnastics to help with training, protocol and the protection of athletes.