For the cover of New York Magazine’s November 12–25, 2018 issue story, Kerry Howley looks at USA Gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar, and how he spent 30 years building an empire of trust and support for his predatory behavior that no accusation could pierce. Strangely, little has been said about his strategies or undeniable success serving his own needs. Howley attempts to understand how, exactly, Nassar went years without getting caught.
“It was normal to take your daughter down into Nassar’s basement after practice, normal for gymnasts to text him, normal not to be charged,” says Howley. “I was fascinated by the stories people told themselves so that they might hang onto the idea of a loving, selfless Larry Nassar. Even when outsiders could see he was abusive, athletes and their families justified his every move. I wanted to understand how he went about building a trust that resilient.”