Larry Nassar, former gymnastics doctor at Michigan State University, is being sued by eighteen women for sexual misconduct.
Larry Nassar, former gymnastics doctor at Michigan State University can no longer hide behind a reputation of treating elite Olympic gymnasts. The doctor is being sued by eighteen women for sexual misconduct. Michigan State University and Twistars gymnastics club, where Nassar acted as a medical doctor until 2015, are also named in this lawsuit spearheaded by former gymnast and patient Rachael Denhollander. The lawsuit has become part of a larger, nationwide investigation into how the Olympic Games handles allegations of sexual assault.
Rachael joins seventeen other females who have for the most part chosen to remain anonymous, filing allegations that Nassar sexually abused them during office visits. The latest complaint was filed by Tiffany Thomas Lopez, former Michigan State softball player who has chosen to speak publicly. The women indicated that Nassar’s procedures were grossly inappropriate, even though the doctor had assured them of their medical necessity. In documenting the abuse, two complaints filed in 1999 and 2000 are also mentioned alongside claims that Michigan State University refused to take proper measures to investigate at the time. So far, the university has indicated there is no evidence that any complaints were filed prior to spring 2014, so the validity of the named reports remains ambiguous.
Nevertheless, the institution moved forward with firing the doctor last year, citing Nassar refused to wear gloves and utilize a female chaperone during exams. These basics were put into place only three years ago after a sexual assault complaint from another Nassar patient that ultimately prosecutors chose not to pursue. The recent college graduate cited Nassar had sexually assaulted her during an appointment for a hip exam. The university had also cleared Nassar of an internal investigation in 2014, deciding instead to put the precautions into place.
Nassar had already been hit at the federal level with child pornography charges, which came to light in September 2016 after Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged the 53 year old with molesting a family friend for years, from the time she was just six years old. In December of last year, federal agents discovered at least 37,000 illicit images and videos saved on discs and drives in the doctor’s home, some of which he had attempted to discard in a trash can at the residence. Following the raid, he was charged with possession, and receipt or attempted receipt, of child pornography. Evidence in the confiscated files showed Nassar could have been engaging in illegal activities as early as 2003. According to court records, he began sexually abusing women in the ‘90s.
Nassar is currently being held without bail. Having engaged in years of inappropriate behavior with minors, Magistrate Judge Raymond Kent views him as a danger to society and particularly to children. Nassar has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and his attorney, who requested that Nassar be electronically monitored from his home, claims the medical treatments the doctor performed were in line with normal osteopathic medicine. Nassar could be facing a sentence of up to life in prison.