With the recent revelation that that despite her ban, Maggie Haney is continuing to serve in a coaching role with children, now is a good time to remind people as to what precisely were the finer details of the allegations which led to her downfall. I wrote this article with two intents in mind:
(1) With so many different sources highlighting abuse allegations made against Haney, I wanted to create a single article condensing it all so its easier for fans to keep track of these allegations.
(2) Haney continues to coach children because she continues to enjoy the support of various parents. And this article is for them.
The accounts in this article are taken from the following five sources. These are not the only sources which provide exclusive allegations in regards to Maggie Haney. There are so many allegations that I had to limit myself to just these five sources. Nor did I include every disturbing allegation that was alleged in these five sources. Once again there was simply too many to fit in one article.
(A) Orange County Register article from April 29th
(B) Statement from Laurie Hernandez posted on social media.
(C) Article from New York Times from May 1st.
(D) An Instagram Live conversation between Aly Raisman & Laurie.
(E) Orange County Register article from May 8th.
The abuse allegations are below and I numbered each paragraph to make it easier for the reader to keep pace.
(1) Haney allegedly demanded a gymnast perform a skill on the uneven bars that she was uncomfortable with and hesitant to do. Haney ridiculed the girl in front of other gymnasts while her assistant, Victoria Levine screamed at her. The young gymnast asked to be spotted only for Levine to deny that request according to the mother of the girl. (E)
(2) The girl then proceeded to hit her head first on the apparatus, then on the cement floor, before falling into the foam pit. According to three parents, Haney and Levine responded by laughing at the girl before it was realized she was developing seizures in response to a significant head injury. (E)
(3) The unnamed girl suffered two skull fractures and her situation was so serious, she was accompanied by a chaplain at the hospital. Her mother was quoted as saying “I thought she was dead” and the young girl continues to suffer from migraine headaches. (E)
(4) It was not the first time Haney had allegedly tried to coerce a gymnast into performing a skill she was uncomfortable with. On another occasion a mother stated that after her daughter hesitated to perform a skill, Haney screamed at her “Oh, my god, I’m going to take you and push you into this cement wall. Do the (expletive) skill!”
(5) According to an account from Wanda Hernandez, the mother of Laurie Hernandez, she overheard a FaceTime conversation where Laurie and a teammate acknowledged witnessing Haney pull a gymnast by the hair. (C) According to five parents Haney allegedly pulled gymnasts off the balance beam by their hair and also pulled them out of foam pits, again by their hair. In other alleged incident, Haney pulled a gymnast up to her feet by the hair after she fell on the uneven bars. (E)
(6) Haney allegedly pressured gymnasts into removing casts and other protective medical devices so they could continue to train despite still being injured. (A) Two parents would state the tactic became such a problem that parents of Haney’s gymnasts requested doctors to use permanent plaster casts so they couldn’t be removed by Haney. (E) Laurie Hernandez revealed she was amongst the gymnasts pressured to compete and train through injuries. (E)
(7) One gymnast allegedly texted her mother, “I try to pray to god and ask him for help but he never listens.” During the hearing another unnamed gymnast stated the abuse was so traumatizing she hoped to be killed in a car wreck while being driven to practice. (E) Laurie Hernandez would report that one of her teammates was so scared of Haney, she would throw up before every practice. (C)
(8) In one statement stemming from the hearing, a gymnast was quoted as saying “going to practice every day was a struggle for me.” She continued by saying she would wake up each morning on the verge of tears, struggled to sleep because she was scared of what future abuse she would endure next, and described one punitive measure as “torturous amounts of conditioning workouts.” (E) Laurie Hernandez revealed on some mornings she would cry “as soon as I wake up” because she was worried about the “yelling and anger” that was due to come at practice. (B)
(9) Gymnasts continue to struggle with the lingering effects of the trauma and continue to suffer from nightmares, panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts, self harming behavior such as body cutting, anxiety, negative thoughts on body image/body image issues, and eating disorders. The mother of one gymnast said her daughter pulled out her eyebrows and eyelashes. (E)
(10) Wanda Hernandez revealed that Haney ridiculed Laurie as she experienced puberty. (E) The type of ridicule involved comments on “curves” and weight gain. (C) According to five parents, gymnasts attempted to hide their menstrual period from Haney. This was the result of Haney telling them that menstruating was proof of their being fat. One gymnast was described as “panic-striken” after a teammate walked in on her in the bathroom as she was experiencing her first period and begged her not to tell Haney. (E)
(11) Laurie cited quotes from Haney such as “you already have a boxy body type.” Laurie also stated Haney would shout at her “you’re so busty.” Comments everyone else would hear. Laurie stated she would resort to wearing two sports bras to flatten her chest and adopted the behavior of binge eating and purging. Laurie reported that praise from Haney made her feel as if the vomiting had worked. (C)
(12) At least a dozen gymnasts reported emotional and/or physical abuse from Haney. This includes gymnasts as young as ten allegedly being screamed at by Haney on a regular basis. (A) According to Laurie Hernandez, Haney would scream so loud that her voice could be heard in the parking lot outside the building. (B)
(13) According to Laurie Hernandez, Haney would humiliate her in front of other gymnasts, made comments about her weight on a frequent basis, have her train despite suffering “multiple injuries,” and curse at her. Laurie stated “with just a look I could be in tears.” (B) According to Laurie, Haney called her weak, lazy, and “messed up in the head.” (C)
(14) After fracturing a growth plate in her wrist, Laurie stated Haney reacted by calling her “dramatic” as she complained about the pain and continued to perform in spite of the injury. Laurie claimed Haney acted in similar fashion in response to a knee injury that later required surgery. (C)
(15) Laurie competed at the 2016 Olympics with a torn abdominal muscle. The injury was quite painful and Laurie said “washing my hair sucked” and made a gesture implying she wanted to shed tears when she sneezed or coughed. Aly Raisman responded by saying “I just remember you were in so much pain and it was so hard to watch, I felt so bad for you.” (D)
(16) According to six parents, gymnasts who displeased Haney in training were screamed at, berated, and ridiculed. They would also be told by Haney that they were lazy, fat, uncoachable, and disrespectful. (E) Haney allegedly screamed and swore at gymnasts as well as threatened, bullied humiliated, and harassed them on a regular basis. (A)
(17) Six parents stated their children were “warned” by Haney not to complain to their parents about Haney’s coaching tactics. (E) Haney is alleged to have said to one of her gymnasts “your parents are just going to kick you to the curb.” (C)
(18) When a parent complained to Haney via text or email, Haney allegedly reacted by reading the complaint out loud in front of her entire group of gymnasts at practice. (E) In some cases, parents stated Haney had told them their daughters were lying about the abuses. (E)
(19) According to Laurie Hernandez, after her mother confronted Haney via phone, Haney’s reaction was to “take it out on me during practice.” Laurie continued by further alleging Haney would also “take it out” on her teammates in response to her mother’s phone call. (B)
(20) The incident was described as “Haney showed up at the gym in a rage” by the New York Times and involved punishing the entire team with extra conditioning workouts. (C)
(21) As a result, Laurie would stop sharing details of Haney’s alleged coaching abuse with her parents to avoid further retaliatory measures. Going as far as to lie to her parents. (E) Laurie would also state she would apologize to her coach “for causing trouble” and stated “I thought I deserved all of it.” (C)
(22) Laurie has acknowledged that the abuse triggered eating disorders and depression that she “continues to battle.” One quote from Laurie in regards to Haney, “she really knew how to mess with your head.” (C)
(23) Laurie described herself as experiencing “full-on major depression” and classified it as something she struggled with. She further acknowledged that she engaged in overeating behavior to cope with her sadness. Laurie is currently getting treatment for her depression and bought a registered emotional support dog after deciding to testify against Haney. (C)
(24) As to why she chose to testify, Laurie stated: “I did it for little Laurie and all the little kids out there.”
(25) Gymnasts allegedly suffered anxiety attacks directly in response to the treatment they endured from Haney. (A) Laurie revealed she suffered multiple panic attacks and said at times she couldn’t breathe. (B) Laurie stated that when she broke down in tears at practice, it would only anger Haney even more. (C)
(26) In the New York Times article, Laurie was described as unable to speak up because she was just a child. Helpless, and unable to walk out or drive home due to her young age. She would express regret over training with Haney and would be quoted as saying, “I’m grateful that I got to the Olympics, but at what cost?” (C)
(27) According to a parent, on one occasion a young gymnast began shaking uncontrollably because she was so nervous to perform a routine in front of Haney and Levine. According to a parent, Levine asked her if she had Tourette’s and then joined Haney in laughing at her. (A)
(28) Parents reported this treatment ultimately impacted the self confidence of their children. One mother said her daughter said she believed she was uncoachable and said in a text “I stink at gymnastics. I hate myself.” (E)
(29) Haney allegedly threatened to commit suicide if top gymnasts left MG-Elite, most noticeably Riley McCusker. These threats were corroborated by “interviews, documents and testimony provided to USA Gymnastics as well as texts and emails.” (E)
(30) Another allegation states gymnasts were frequently kicked out of practice for making mistakes. When a gymnast was kicked out of practice she was usually sent upstairs, to a room described as a “glorified closet.” (E)
(31) Gymnasts who performed poorly in training or at a competition were allegedly threatened by Haney that she would call college coaches and discourage those coaches from recruiting them. The allegation also states Haney used this same threat against gymnasts who “looked fat.” (E) Parents reported they had witnessed Haney “fat shame” gymnasts. (A)
(32) It was also alleged by parents that Haney and Levine frequently called gymnasts “retarded” and even said certain gymnasts should be in a “retarded group.” One parent was quoted as saying they used that word “all the time.” (E)
(33) Another allegation states Haney’s behavior in front of other coaches was so bad and so noticeable, that an official from British Gymnastics approached a member of the American delegation and said if a coach spoke to a British gymnast as Haney had spoken to Riley McCusker, that coach would never be allowed to coach again. (E)
(34) During interactions between Haney and McCusker at national team camps, Forster had to intervene on Riley’s behalf. Riley McCusker’s mother would go as far as to say Forster had “saved” her daughter “several times.” (E)
(35) Steve Penny was allegedly informed of Laurie Hernandez’s complaints on two occasions. Laurie’s mother stated she was never contacted by Penny about the Haney case. (E) It would be stated that Jessica McCusker, the mother of Riley McCusker began complaining to three top officials starting in 2019 and was pivotal to advancing the case. (E)
(36) Haney allegedly continued to subject Riley McCusker to abusive behavior including screaming at her and kicking her out of training sessions. Riley was reported to have been struggling both physically and mentally. According to Riley’s mother, she told her parents “I hate myself.” (E)