Start by Believing: Larry Nassar's Crimes, the Institutions that Enabled Him, and the Brave Women Who Stopped a Monster

Start by Believing: Larry Nassar's Crimes, the Institutions that Enabled Him, and the Brave Women Who Stopped a Monster

by John Barr, Dan Murphy


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The definitive, devastating account of the largest sex abuse scandal in American sports history-with new details and insights into the institutional failures, as well as the bravery that brought it to light.

For decades, osteopathic physician Larry Nassar built a sterling reputation as the go-to doctor for America's Olympians while treating countless others at his office on Michigan State University's campus. It was largely within the high-pressure world of competitive gymnastics that Nassar exploited young girls, who were otherwise motivated by fear and intimidation, sexually assaulting hundreds of them under the guise of medical treatment.

In Start by Believing, John Barr and Dan Murphy confront Nassar's acts, which represent the largest sex abuse scandal to impact the sporting world. Through never-before-released interviews and documents they deconstruct the epic institutional failures and individuals who enabled him. When warnings were raised, self-serving leaders chose to protect their organizations' reputations over the well-being of young people.

Following the paths traveled by courageous women-featuring a once-shy Christian attorney and a brash, outspoken Olympic medalist-Barr and Murphy detail the stories of those who fought back against the dysfunction within their sport to claim a far-from-inevitable victory. The gymnasts' uncommon perseverance, along with the help of dedicated advocates brought criminals to justice and helped to fuel the #MeToo revolution.

Start by Believing reveals the win-at-all-costs culture in elite athletics and higher education that enabled a quarter century of heinous crimes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316532150
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 01/14/2020
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 120,505
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

John Barr has worked as an investigative reporter for ESPN since 2003. In 2019 his coverage of the Larry Nassar scandal was honored with a Peabody Award and the IRE Sports Investigations Award. In 2011, his report on human trafficking during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa won a National Edward R. Murrow Award. Prior to joining ESPN, Barr produced and reported stories for The National Geographic Channel, Court TV, and, for more than a decade, in local television. A native of London, Ontario, Canada. He lives just outside of Philadelphia.

Dan Murphy is an investigative reporter at ESPN. He was honored with a Peabody Award and the IRE Sports Investigations Award in 2019. His coverage of college athletics and broader issues in the world of sports has appeared on ESPN's digital, television and print outlets. Based now in Michigan, Murphy is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Table of Contents

Authors' Note xi

Prologue 1

Part I The Banality of Evil

Chapter 1 The Awkward Introvert 13

Chapter 2 The Absolute Monarch 23

Chapter 3 Pushing Boundaries 33

Chapter 4 What Price Glory? 45

Chapter 5 Absolute Fury 51

Chapter 6 All That Glitters 59

Chapter 7 The Ranch 67

Chapter 8 Money and Medals 82

Part II Unheeded Warnings

Chapter 9 The Pitbull 93

Chapter 10 Spartan Silence 103

Chapter 11 Hide-and-Seek 114

Chapter 12 Statute of Limitations 120

Chapter 13 "Souls Fall…Like Snowflakes" 126

Chapter 14 The Perfect Storm 135

Chapter 15 Fierce Five 142

Chapter 16 What's Wrong with This Picture? 152

Chapter 17 A Formal Complaint 160

Chapter 18 "A Great Bullshitter" 171

Chapter 19 The Cover Story 179

Chapter 20 Damage Control 189

Part III The Wrong Army

Chapter 21 Cracking Under Pressure 205

Chapter 22 Coming Forward 212

Chapter 23 Breaking News 221

Chapter 24 Fallout Begins 228

Chapter 25 Trash Day 232

Chapter 26 Victim-Centered 239

Chapter 27 Critical Testimony 247

Chapter 28 Defensive Posture 253

Chapter 29 The National Spotlight 262

Chapter 30 Uncivil Actions 270

Chapter 31 Striking a Deal 277

Chapter 32 Armed and Ready 286

Chapter 33 Expanding Ranks 292

Chapter 34 A Rare Gift 299

Epilogue 305

Acknowledgments 317

Index 323

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