Erie Parents React to Sexual Assault of Young Girls by Ex-USA Gymnastics Doctor Ahead of Sentencing
Dozens of girls and women are preparing to testify against former USA Gymnastics and Michigan Dr. Larry Nassar during his sentencing hearing next week.
The 54 year old pleaded guilty in November to ten counts of sexually assaulting young girls.
The parents of gymnasts at the Stars and Stripes co-ed invitational at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie said they are not surprised by the behavior.
"Unfortunately, I was not surprised, not because it was gymnastics, but just in general," said Brian Marshall, parent of a gymnast. "The climate, the country that we live in, and the culture that's going on lends itself to this kind of behavior."
While it can happen in any sports, parents said you always need to keep any eye on your child.
"I think you're worried all the time when you have your kids involved in a sport," said Vicki Ayala, parent of a gymnast. "You're putting a lot of faith and trust in another adult taking care of your child, and it's always a risk no matter what the sport is."
Parents agree they notice gyms and competitions like the Stars and Stripes Co-Ed Invitational make an effort to keep their children safe.
"There's someone there when their parents are late picking them up," said Jason Veit, parent of Gymnast. "They always make sure there's at least two people staying until the parent comes to pick up the child."
Mother Vicki Ayala said talking to your child about what can happen can also help them stay vigilant.
"I think having the open communication with your own child about what is appropriate, what isn't appropriate, and they can come tell you," said Ayala. "That is a big thing, having open communication with your own child."
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