National: Survivors’ group understands victims’ distress over US Gymnastics plea deal, wants feds to apologize to victims

National: Survivors’ group understands victims’ distress over US Gymnastics plea deal, wants feds to apologize to victims

For immediate release, Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Statement by Melanie Sakoda of Moraga, California, Volunteer Member of the Board of Directors of SNAP, the Survivors Network (925-708-6175melanie.sakoda@gmail.com)

A former US Gymnastics doctor, who stands accused of sexually abusing over a hundred of his female patients, will be going to prison on federal child pornography charges. However, as part of his plea deal, none of the federal molestation charges against him will be pursued.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/11/536568612/doctor-accused-of-molesting-u-s-gymnasts-to-plead-guilty-to-other-charges

As members of the national survivors group SNAP, we glad that Dr. Larry Nassar will be serving time behind bars. Moreover, we appreciate that Nassar still faces numerous criminal charges in state courts and could face life in prison. He also faces civil suits that may expose men and women who knew about Nassar’s crimes and did little to nothing to stop them.

But we also understand the distress of those victims who cooperated with the federal investigation. Survivors suffer greatly having to relive the trauma of their experiences, but they do it in the hopes of seeing justice served and future children protected. After opening themselves to federal investigators about the initial betrayal by Nassar, we can see why the abused gymnasts feel betrayed again by the plea bargain. 

Child abuse victims who read about the result in this case may be discouraged from reporting, or from cooperating with future investigations. Why put yourself through the agony if the federal government is only going to ignore your pain? 

We can only hope that federal prosecutors apologize for their insensitivity to all those who shared intimate details of a traumatic experience only to be shockingly disappointed by the ultimate outcome. Authorities also need to learn from this experience, and seek out professional guidance as to how to avoid being part of the problem, instead of part of the solution, in the future.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contacts - Melanie Jula (925-708-6175melanie.sakoda@gmail.com), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434jcasteix@gmail.com),Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)

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