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USA Gymnastics asks Mary Lee Tracy to resign over 'inappropriate contact' with Aly Raisman

Posted at 6:19 PM, Aug 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 22:18:13-04

CINCINNATI -- Mary Lee Tracy, a longtime gymnastics coach who once went on the record defending since-convicted serial child molester Larry Nassar, said Thursday that "cyberbullying" over the comments might force her to leave her new position as USA Gymnastics' women's elite development coordinator.

By Friday evening, however, she was ready to fight a request for her resignation.

USA Gymnastics wrote in a statement it had asked Tracy to resign from the role for "inappropriately (contacting) a survivor, who is also a represented plaintiff, in response to that survivor's public criticism of her."

In a Facebook post, Tracy wrote she had reached out to Olympian Aly Raisman, who tweeted on Tuesday that Tracy's appointment to the position was a "slap in the face for survivors & further confirmation that nothing at @USAGym has changed."

Raisman, one of hundreds of gymnasts who accused Nassar of sexually abusing them under the guise of practicing osteopathic medicine, filed suit in February against USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee for what she described as willful ignorance of the abuse.

"I tried to contact Aly to apologize and hope we could work together to make our sports better and learn from all the mistakes of the past," Tracy wrote on Facebook. "I was never informed that I was not permitted to speak to Ali (sic) or any of the survivors!"

She added in a later post: "I have notified USA gymnastics that I am not resigning i was pressured to make a decision and I am seeking counsel! I appreciate all of the support from the community!"

In her Thursday interview with WCPO, Tracy said she regretted her 2016 defense of Nassar, in which she said:

“My Olympians have all worked with Larry. We were all defending him because he has helped so many kids in their careers. He has protected them, taken care of them, worked with me and worked with their parents. He’s been amazing."

On Thursday, Tracy said she, like others in his life, had been fooled by a "master manipulator."

"The man is a monster," she said. "But at that moment, I looked at him like I would my dad or my brother. That was the level of trust I had."

When asked what she would say in response to Raisman's tweet, she said:

"I would say, Aly, I am really sorry for what has happened to you. I am disgusted by what has happened and I am sorry. I am also sorry that at the beginning of this I had anything positive to say about that man, but I want you to know, Aly, that I was only speaking on my truth, my experience, I was not speaking about your experience or anyone's else's experience. If you ask me today how I feel, he is a horrible, manipulative monster and he is serving his time."