The definitive, devastating account of the largest sex abuse scandal in American sports history-with new details and insights into the institutional failures, as well as the bravery that brought it to light.
For decades, osteopathic physician Larry Nassar built a sterling reputation as the go-to doctor for America's Olympians while treating countless others at his office on Michigan State University's campus. It was largely within the high-pressure world of competitive gymnastics that Nassar exploited young girls, who were otherwise motivated by fear and intimidation, sexually assaulting hundreds of them under the guise of medical treatment.
In Start by Believing, John Barr and Dan Murphy confront Nassar's acts, which represent the largest sex abuse scandal to impact the sporting world. Through never-before-released interviews and documents they deconstruct the epic institutional failures and individuals who enabled him. When warnings were raised, self-serving leaders chose to protect their organizations' reputations over the well-being of young people.
Following the paths traveled by courageous women-featuring a once-shy Christian attorney and a brash, outspoken Olympic medalist-Barr and Murphy detail the stories of those who fought back against the dysfunction within their sport to claim a far-from-inevitable victory. The gymnasts' uncommon perseverance, along with the help of dedicated advocates brought criminals to justice and helped to fuel the #MeToo revolution.
Start by Believing reveals the win-at-all-costs culture in elite athletics and higher education that enabled a quarter century of heinous crimes.
In this hard-hitting expos , Peabody Award winning ESPN reporters Barr and Murphy recount the rise and notorious fall of Larry Nassar, a Michigan State University sports physician who went to prison in 2018 for sexually assaulting hundreds of women and girls while allegedly treating their injuries. In this disturbing portrait, Nasser is an insidious predator, friendly and ingratiating, who disguised his assaults as legitimate procedures while using his medical reputation to dismiss victims' accusation. Empowering him, the authors show, was the gymnastics industry itself, which demanded girls' unquestioning obedience to tyrannical and sometimes violent coaches, brutal practice regimens, and weight restrictions that fostered injuries that Nassar treated with pain-killers and "massages"; meanwhile, the sport's governing organization, USA Gymnastics, covered up abuse complaints against Nassar and others. Foregrounding several women who finally brought charges, Barr and Murphy vividly convey the sense of confusion and helplessness that beset victims as their claims met with patronizing disbelief, sometimes from their own parents. The result is a searing indictment of a child molester and the culture of silence and submission that abetted him.