Transcript for Gymnasts testify before Congress about sex abuse claims
Back now with the former olympian gymnast speaking to congress about abuse in the U.S. Team and, Amy, you have more and this is -- involves someone these athletes trusted. It does and for olympic athletes the training they endure is rigorous and intense and now there are claims young girls in the U.S. Gymnastics program were subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of their team doctor. They were in control of taking my dream away in a second. I trusted you but I was sexually abused as were so many other athletes. Reporter: Some of the best competitors in their sport but retired championship gymnast Jamie Howard and Jamie dantzscher are speaking out against the organization that failed to protect them. Dr. Nasr acted me as the good guy prompting me relief from the pain. In actuality he expertly abused me under the guise of treatment. Reporter: Dr. Larry Nassar worked for 18 years for usa gymnastics. The governing body for the sport in the U.S. He is seen here in this iconic photo helping Kerri strug at the '96 Atlanta games. Dantzscher testified about Nasr's alleged abuse before the senate judiciary committee Tuesday joining others with similar stories to support a new bill aiming to protect young athletes reporting sexual abuse. Dr. Nassar abused me at the training center in Texas. He abused me in California and all over the world many times in my own room in my own bed. Worse, he abused me in my hotel room in Sydney at the olympic games. This guy is disgusting and he's a monster. Reporter: Nassar is facing 22 counts of sexual assault in Michigan where he ran a clinic at Michigan state university and additional state charges stemming from alleged incidents involving a minor at his home. Nassar denies all the charges. In the wake of the scandal the head of usa gymnastics abruptly resigning this month. It has become glaringly obvious that usa gymnastics has not done nearly enough to protect us. Reporter: Also testifying gold medal winner Dominique moceanu not a victim of Nassar's but calling for improvements to the system. I'd like to share background about the system that made it possible for predators like Dr. Nassar to thrive unchecked for decades. Reporter: She testified that at the karolyi ranch had the setting for others to occur. Giving others courage to come forward. Now I know I'm not alone, more than 100 women have come forward and shared stories that are shockingly similar to mine. Reporter: The karolyis issued a statement to ABC news vehemently denying the allegations made against them. As part of the proposed legislation governing bodies under the usoc umbrella would be required to report allegations of sexual abuse to law enforcement and train employees on how to handle these situations. The statute of limitation for victims to sue their abusers would also be extended. Michael. Thank you, Amy. Now joined by olympic gold medalist Dominique moceanu from Cleveland and, Dominique, thanks so much for joining us. You know, yesterday you spoke with congress about the verbal and emotional abuse you suffered at the hands of the usa gymnastics when you were there and can you give us an idea of what went on. Well, there was this culture of fear that permeated the entire women's elite program for many, many years. There was a control factor. There was this sense of we can't speak up because our olympic dreams are held in these coa coaches' hands and these people are the most powerful people in usa gymnastics and they make the decisions if you are put on a world championship team, if you are put on an olympic team, if you get an international assignment, and anyone that didn't comply to the rules at the ranch where you had no parents there to speak up for you, you had coaches, but coaches were also afraid at times to speak up because they would take it out on the athlete if they somehow, you know, broke ranks so this culture permeated every aspect of our lives and it was really a culture of fear. We could not speak up and defend ourselves if we saw injustices or any wrongdoing because we were all afraid and we had this big olympic dream, who wants to throw that away by speaking up and so now you are hearing a lot more voices because women are coming out in the hundreds by Dr. Nassar's victims, so right now you're seeing a lot more courage in women coming forward. I've been speaking up about abuse for ten plus years and now, you know, I'm happy to see women coming forward. What do you think is -- what do you believe is at the center of this culture of abuse? Well, I believe the center was always revolved around money and medals so the athlete's welfare was put in second place or third at times. That's never okay when you're in a sport and dealing with youth, that is never okay. The welfare of the child athlete is always number one. And we can still be successful and treat our athletes in a more humane wap. You're advocating for change so what do you think needs to be done to make a change to the system? Well, firstly I would encourage all the viewers to contact their senators and have support for the passing of this bill to protect all children in youth sports. This bill is going to cross a wide range in all youth sports for anyone to become a mandatory reporter if you suspect any type of abuse, not just sexual and that's huge. That would be a lot of support in the right direction. Secondly, we need to make sure we are educating our community, do you know that nobody that I know of in our community is educated in predator grooming or in abusive methods and methodologies? So we have to educate our community to be aware of predator grooming. Thank you very much, Dominique. We really appreciate you. Thank you very much. Trying to get the word out for ten years. And now those are joining.
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