Olympian Aly Raisman lends her voice to fellow sexual assault accusers at USC

Cassandra Negley
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Olympic Gold Medalist Aly Raisman spoke in support of sexual assault accusers and new legislation they're supporting in California. (AP)

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is taking her USA Gymnastics team captain leadership role into another realm.

Raisman, 24, is one of the sexual assault survivors who came forward with allegations against Larry Nassar. Her 13-minute testimony confronting Nassar at his January 2018 trial showcased the gymnast’s immense strength and positioned her as a champion for the cause.

Now she’s using that to help women accusing University of Southern California gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall of sexual misconduct while he was employed at the school’s health center.

93 women file lawsuits against USC, Tyndall

There were 52 women in July 2018 who filed lawsuits against Tyndall and USC, with 93 more joining in October 2018, as announced in a press conference, for ignoring complaints that spanned decades. The lawsuits were filed on behalf of 93 women, with accusations dating back to 1988.

Approximately 500 current and former students had made accusations as of last fall. They allege Tyndall made crude comments, took inappropriate photos and forced patients to strip naked so he could grope them “under the guise of medical treatment.”

A $215 million settlement that included school reforms was filed in February.

Tyndall has denied the allegations and was fired by the school in 2017 for inappropriate behavior.

Raisman stands by USC survivors

Survivors of Tyndall’s abuse are fighting for the passage of a new bill in the California legislature that would extend the statute of limitations for reporting sexual assault or sexual misconduct of a doctor at a student health center. The standard window for sexual assault is 10 years.

AB1510 would extend the statute for those whose chance expired before January 1, 2020. It would give survivors a one-year window to report, up to January 1, 2021. USC opposes the bill, according to CNN, fearing those who were a part of the settlement will opt out and pursue other legal action.

Raisman joined Tyndall’s former patients at the California state capital Tuesday in support of the bill.

“I stand here today with an army of survivors,” she said. “More than 600 of George Tyndall’s survivors have come forward — 600 — accusing him of abuse. And yet, no charges have been filed. How can this be? What message does this send to survivors? To potential future victims? To abusers? It suggests that sexual abuse is not a priority.

“Too often, statutes of limitations fail to account for the complexity of sexual abuse,” Raisman said later in her comments. She asked that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate how the abuse was allowed to happen so that it doesn’t happen again.

“I ask you to imagine: how different would the trajectory of all these lives be if just one individual had stood up [and] done the right thing?”

She shared her full comments on her Twitter page.

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