PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — A former Rhode Island College gymnast and current nursing student says she won’t let her abuser win.
Chandler Lynn, 23, tells 12 News she was treated and abused by Larry Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor.
She says she met Nassar in 2014 while she was living in Michigan. Her gymnastics coach recommended the doctor to help treat her back pain.
“He’s going to keep my career going. This is what I love and this is what I want to do. Me and my mom were so excited,” Lynn recalled, adding that Nassar was trusted because of his reputation in the Olympic circuit.
Lynn says even as a 14-year-old, she realized something was wrong. She recalls seeing messages from Olympic gymnasts on his office wall, and as a teenager striving to be the best gymnast she could be, it was hard to comprehend what exactly to think.
She recalls feeling privileged that she was “receiving the best care available.”
Now, she realizes that was not an accurate representation of the situation at all.
Four years later, during her freshman year at RIC, several of Nassar’s victims started coming forward.
Her former coach called her to check in, but Lynn says she was in denial about what she went through.
“‘No, nothing, it’s fine,'” Lynn would tell her coach. “Lying to her and lying to myself at the time.”
But as the coverage of the case became inescapable, she realized the stories other survivors were sharing were like hers.
Lynn’s mother read an impact statement on her behalf prior to Nassar’s sentencing. It was the first time her story became public, and the world found out she too was abused by hands that were supposed to heal.
“I don’t know if I would have been able to stand in the courtroom with him at the time,” she added. “I wish I was brave enough to do that, but I feel like just getting my story out there was a big step for me.”
Lynn says sharing her story has been a freeing experience. She was recognized at the 2018 ESPYS, receiving the Arthur Ash Courage award with her fellow survivors.
“Walking on stage, I think, was a moment of courage for me. I picture that in my head sometimes when I’m down,” Lynn said. “That moment of us all walking on stage, and he’s not in control anymore. We were standing up and we are fighting. It was an amazing moment I will hold close to my heart forever.”
Now, Lynn is engaged and getting ready for a career as a nurse. She wants victims to know they are not alone and she plans to continue fighting.
“I’m ready to use my voice to talk about it and just say how inexcusable it is that we are still looking for answers,” Lynn said. “We deserve peace and we deserve to heal, and I so badly would like to put this behind me, and it will never happen until people are held accountable for it.”
“It’s just to the point of frustration, just thinking about if the FBI had just done what they are supposed to do, if one person had done their job, it wouldn’t have happened to me and it wouldn’t have happened to hundreds of other girls,” she continued. “I’m just baffled it’s still going on six years later. We are still searching for answers.”