Maggie Nichols' mother on sex abuse: gymnastic, Olympic institutions 'didn't do their job'

Maggie Nichols competes on the balance beam
Maggie Nichols competes on the balance beam during day 1 of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women's Gymnastics Team Trials at SAP Center on July 8, 2016 in San Jose, California.
Ronald Martinez | Getty Images 2016

Updated: 8:40 p.m. | Posted: 12:55 p.m.

A former world champion gymnast from Little Canada, Minn., came forward Tuesday saying she was a sex abuse victim of the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar.

University of Oklahoma sophomore Maggie Nichols said in a statement Tuesday that Nassar molested her at the Karolyi Ranch Olympic training camp in Texas when she was 15 years old. She wrote: "He violated our innocence."

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Nichols is receiving a lot of support from her team and the OU community as a whole, her mother Gina Nichols said in an interview Tuesday with MPR News host Tom Crann.

Maggie was the first of the more than 100 women and girls who say they are victims of sexual abuse by the now-imprisoned Michigan sports doctor to report the abuse, Nichols said.

Maggie's coach at Twin Cities Twisters in Champlin, Sarah Jantzi, originally reported the abuse to USA Gymnastics for Maggie in late spring, early summer of 2015, Nichols said.

"We consider (Jantzi) as a hero because she overheard her — and Maggie was still a child, she was a minor — and said, 'What are you talking about?'" Nichols said.

Attempts to reach Jantzi for an interview were not successful Tuesday.

After the abuse was reported, Gina Nichols said she got a call from then-President of USA Gymnastics Steve Penny who said she should not tell anyone else about the incident and that the organization would "take care of this."

"And they did not," Nichols said.

Nichols said she believes USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University and the United States Olympic Committee are all responsible for what happened to her daughter. "Because not one person can molest this many people and get away with it unless institutions didn't do their job and didn't do what they were supposed to do," she said.

Those institutions needs to take responsibility because even though the university said Nasser was under investigation between 2014 and 2015, he was allowed to go to the Olympic Training Center — then USA Gymnastics did the same thing, Nichols added.

"They allowed him to quietly leave USA Gymnastics and they allowed him to put in a news statement that he had retired from USA Gymnastics," she said.

Nichols' lawyer, John Manly, represents 107 women and girls suing two institutions that employed Nassar: USA Gymnastics, the Indianapolis-based group that trains Olympians; and Michigan State University.

Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting the gymnasts, possessing child pornography and molesting girls who sought medical treatment. He is scheduled for sentencing next week on the molestation cases. He was sentenced in December to 60 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.