'Believed' Podcast Tells The Story Of Survivors Who Won Justice Against Larry Nassar Investigation from Michigan Radio and NPR, out October 22, explores how young women found their power when well-meaning adults failed them
NPR logo 'Believed' Podcast Tells The Story Of Survivors Who Won Justice Against Larry Nassar

'Believed' Podcast Tells The Story Of Survivors Who Won Justice Against Larry Nassar

Clockwise from left: former assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis (Emma Winowiecki), survivor Rachael Denhollander (Nicole Bolinaux), Detective Lt. Andrea Munford (Emma Winowiecki), survivor Kyle Stephens (Jodi Westrick), survivor Amanda Thomashow (Emma Winowiecki), survivor Brianne Randall-Gay (Kasey O'Dea) Michigan Radio/NPR hide caption

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Michigan Radio/NPR

Clockwise from left: former assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis (Emma Winowiecki), survivor Rachael Denhollander (Nicole Bolinaux), Detective Lt. Andrea Munford (Emma Winowiecki), survivor Kyle Stephens (Jodi Westrick), survivor Amanda Thomashow (Emma Winowiecki), survivor Brianne Randall-Gay (Kasey O'Dea)

Michigan Radio/NPR

Investigation from Michigan Radio and NPR, out October 22, explores how young women found their power when well-meaning adults failed them

Believed, from Michigan Radio and NPR, explores how young women found their power when well-meaning adults failed them
NPR

October 15, 2018; Washington, D.C. – People around the world were stunned in early 2018 when more than 150 women testified at the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor who sexually abused patients for more than 20 years. How did he escape justice for decades? How was he able to maintain his appearance as the good guy, the ally, the protector? Why did authorities keep trusting him? Believed, a new podcast from Michigan Radio and NPR, goes beyond the headlines to address those questions through survivors' untold stories, interviews with parents and detectives, and recordings from police investigations with Nassar.

The podcast is not only an intimate look at how a team of women — a detective, a prosecutor, and an army of survivors — won justice, but also an unnerving exploration of how even well-meaning adults can fail to believe. This timely and thoughtful mini-series documents the survivors of one of the largest serial sexual abuse cases in U.S. history finding their power during an important cultural moment.

Believed, hosted by award-winning Michigan Radio reporters Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith, will begin its limited run on October 22. A trailer is available now at michiganradio.org/believed and on the NPR One app, Pocket Casts, Apple Podcasts, and wherever podcasts are available.

"Michigan Radio is extremely proud to be able to bring the stories of these survivors to podcast listeners across the world," said Michigan Radio program director Zoe Clark. "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."

Lindsey Smith and Kate Wells. Photo by Jodi Westrick. Michigan Radio/NPR hide caption

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Michigan Radio/NPR

Lindsey Smith and Kate Wells. Photo by Jodi Westrick.

Michigan Radio/NPR

Wells has extensively covered the Nassar story since allegations surfaced in 2016, building deep relationships with dozens of survivors, parents, detectives, and attorneys. As Michigan Radio's investigative reporter, Smith covered Nassar as well and led the station's award-winning Flint water crisis coverage.

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Believed podcast tile (Download)

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"How did Larry Nassar get away with abuse for so long? Why did so many people trust him and believe him? Would we have missed the signs, too? Our colleagues at Michigan Radio have been covering this story longer and better than almost anyone else, and they've been wrestling with those essential questions," says NPR's Senior Vice President for Programming and Audience Development Anya Grundmann. "We're so glad to have the opportunity to get their incredible work in front of a national audience."

Listeners will be guided through this story by some of the women most intimately affected, in tandem with Smith and Wells' extensive reporting, including:

Kyle Stephens, who revealed to her parents at age 12 that their friend Larry had been abusing her for years. Ultimately, her family chose to believe Nassar, and Kyle spent years waiting for the day she could finally take him down.

Rachael Denhollander, now an icon of the #MeToo movement, is a homeschooling mother of four who spent 15 years quietly and methodically collecting evidence against her abuser. She stood down a wave of disbelievers and attempts to smear her to make sure the truth got out.

Detective Andrea Munford, whose motto was "start by believing," went after an abuser who had been hiding in plain sight for 20 years. Armed with Rachael's evidence and a killer instinct, her taped confrontation with Nassar began his public unraveling.

Believed 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.

About Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio is an NPR news station, and the most listened to public radio news source in Michigan. The station'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. Michigan Radio's news stories can be found online at michiganradio.org.

About NPR

NPR's rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day—on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public—one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners consider public radio an enriching and enlightening companion; they trust NPR as a daily source of unbiased independent news, and inspiring insights on life and the arts. More information at npr.org/aboutnpr and following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Steve Chrypinski, Marketing Director

steveski@umich.edu / (734) 764-5118

Allyssa Pollard, NPR Media Relations

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