People around the world were stunned in early 2018 when more than 150 women testified at the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the Olympic gymnastics doctor who sexually abused patients for more than 20 years. How did he escape justice for so long? How was his appearance as the good guy, the ally, the protector maintained? Why did people keep trusting him? This October, Michigan Radio and NPR will premiere a new podcast called Believed that will answer those questions with greater depth and access than any previous coverage.
Believed will be hosted by award-winning reporters Kate Wells, who has exhaustively covered the Nassar story since 2016, and Lindsey Smith, who led Michigan Radio’s Flint water crisis investigative team. The mini-series is not only an intimate look at how a team of female survivors, detectives, and prosecutors won justice, but also an unnerving exploration of how well-meaning adults can fail to believe. This timely and thoughtful coverage documents the survivors of one of the largest serial sexual abuse cases in U.S. history finding their power during an important cultural moment.
"Michigan Radio is beyond proud to be able to bring the stories of these survivors to podcast listeners across the world,” said Zoe Clark, Michigan Radio Program Director. “We are grateful to the women who have been willing to share their stories and hope this reporting will spark conversations aimed at preventing future abuse."
Michigan Radio’s news team began covering the Larry Nassar abuse story in the fall of 2016, when allegations first surfaced against the former USA Gymnastics and MSU sports doctor. Since then, the station has produced more than 200 stories related to the case, led by Kate Wells. The station has also produced a comprehensive timeline showing the long history of abuse by Nassar.
The Believed podcast will be distributed by NPR, marking the first time the public radio network will distribute a station-produced podcast. NPR is the leading publisher of podcasts with 42 active programs, and has held Podtrac’s #1 spot since Podtrac began counting podcast audiences in May 2016. NPR podcasts are heard by over 16 million listeners every month. You can view NPR’s announcement of the Believed podcast here.
Listeners will be able to find the Believed podcast starting in late October on their preferred podcast platform, NPR One app, and home voice-activated assistants.