For a deep but dark emotional experience, I strongly recommend listening to the FULL NINE-PART NPR podcast Believed. Not only a compelling story but proof that exceptional documentary reporting is still alive and well in a polarized world of so-called fake news. I imagine listening will be something like the excitement people used to feel listening to radio stories. Though unfortunately, this one is true. But I promise that if you listen to the first episode, you won’t be able to stop.
This is an in-depth look at the fast-talking, jargon-dropping Larry Nassar, the infamous Olympic gymnastics doctor and serial child molester, who used his position of trust to abuse HUNDREDS of young girls over decades, despite multiple accusations and inquiries along the way.
Artfully reported by Lindsey Smith and Kate Wells of Michigan Radio and full of revealing, raw, and moving interviews with victims and their parents, this series examines the intersection of so many of our most challenging societal issues: #MeToo; white male privilege; blind trust in alleged experts, the second class status of children, girls, and women; institutions blindly determined to protect their own; and a criminal justice system that too often doesn’t work.
Excerpts from interviews with Nassar demonstrate first-hand how he used medical jargon and swagger to derail investigations, and how he was ultimately trapped by a combination of one detective’s diligence and pure dumb luck.
The series walks us through his trials, including excerpts from some of the 204 victims who testified at his week-long sentencing hearing. And it details some of the ways Nassar’s crimes have permanently damaged both victims AND their families — with destroyed relationships between parents and their children and ongoing psychological scarring, depression, and thoughts of suicide.
Fortunately, there is also the cathartic and deeply satisfying experience of witnessing so many of the victims facing their abuser in court, and speaking directly to him.
Here are some of the many options for listening and/or downloading: