Former Michigan State University gymnastics physician Larry Nassar has been hit with new charges stemming from allegations that arose in 2016.
Nassar has been charged with 22 counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. In December, prosecutors announced they’d uncovered video the doctor had made documenting his crimes. A search of his property and personal computer also revealed tens of thousands of child pornography images. Nassar so far has maintained his innocence, pleading not guilty to the accusations piling up against him.
More than two dozen women have filed lawsuits or joined existing litigation against Nassar, Michigan State University, and USA Gymanstics. Nassar allegedly committed crimes across the country, with many having happened at medical facilities and a local gym as well as his own home.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette did not mince words when reading the new charges.
“This guy is disgusting. This guy is despicable,” Schuette said on Tuesday.
“He is a monster.”
More than 60 women in total have come forward saying they had been abused by Nassar in Michigan or at a Texas training camp. Some of the victims say they were assaulted multiple times over the course of weeks, months, or even years.
His lawyers maintain that Nassar was making use of valid medical procedures when he digitally penetrated under-aged girls without gloves under the guise of performing transvaginal treatments. He has also been accused of exposing himself in games of “hide-and-seek.”
Discontent and protests have broken out in East Lansing, the home of Michigan State University, as a result of the ongoing trial. Students and activists believe the university should have known enough to rid themselves of Nassar years before they had. Lawsuits which were filed in California and Michigan maintain that MSU had been warned about the physician in the 1990s.
Even though Michigan State had investigated Nassar in 2014 following a patient complaint, they did not discipline or fire him until 2016. NBC News states the same investigation found that the doctor had hidden evidence that a police inquiry had been launched into him over a decade earlier.
Hundreds of other university employees have been named in lawsuits stemming from Nassar’s extensive pattern of gross professional misconduct and abuse. Michigan State University’s head gymnastics resigned on Tuesday after two women said he hadn’t listened to their complaints about the team physician. Although not named in any lawsuit and actively cooperating with law enforcement, the coach’s legal representatives said in a statement that she was too distressed to continue working.
Detroit attorney Brian Keen commented that the institutional failures and manipulation by a trusted staffer in the Nassar case seemed like “Penn State all over again.”
The case will likely continue to grow larger as more evidence is uncovered by law enforcement as well as Michigan State’s own international investigation.