Former Olympian Aly Raisman said Thursday that disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar should suffer behind bars for sexually abusing her and scores of other young gymnasts.
Her comments came on the “Today” show on NBC, one day after a Michigan judge sentenced Nassar to serve 40 to 175 years in prison for his crimes.
“He deserves to suffer,” said Raisman, a Needham native and six-time Olympic medalist. “It’s disgusting what happened.”
Raisman, 23, last week delivered a blistering victim impact statement during Nassar’s sentencing hearing, telling him from the witness stand that “we, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time, are now a force, and you are nothing.”
During her “Today” interview Thursday, Raisman again called for an investigation into USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee, the entities that oversaw Nassar when he preyed on more than 150 girls and young women.
“We have to get to the bottom of how this disaster happened,” Raisman said, adding that she recently learned Nassar didn’t have a license to practice medicine in Texas, where he treated gymnasts at an Olympic training center.
Also during the interview, Raisman recounted the ordeal of facing down Nassar at sentencing under the glare of the national spotlight.
In the moment, Raisman said, she “blocked out everything” because she felt she “really had to be strong.” But afterward she was emotionally and physically drained.
“I was sick,” she said. “I almost passed out. I had the worst headache for hours.”
Nassar, she said, locked eyes with her as she spoke.
“He looked me in the eye the whole time,” Raisman said. “It was crazy. I did not expect that at all.” But she drew strength from the many survivors of Nassar’s abuse who were present in the courtroom.
“I just felt an instant connection,” Raisman said. “We were hugging each other. We really are an army of survivors.”
The celebrated gymnast concluded the interview by saying she wants to “make sure this never happens again.” Raisman said she hopes “everyone will be educated to know how to see the warning signs of a predator.”
Material from the Associated Press and New York Times contributed to this report. Danny McDonald of the Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent Dylan McGuinness also contributed. Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.