Police arrested the former physician of the USA Gymnastics team and charged him with three counts of criminal sexual conduct against a person under 13 years old. The arrest comes after over 50 individuals have made public allegations of sexual abuse against the doctor.
Dr. Larry Nassar, 53, a former faculty member at Michigan State University, served as the official USA Gymnastics physicians through four Olympics. Records show the group let Nassar go last year. He pled ‘not guilty’ to the charges during his Tuesday arraignment and was subsequently released after posting bail. If convicted, he faces the possibility of a life sentence.
In addition to the criminal charges, Nassar also is in the midst of a California civil lawsuit. Filed in September, the suit names both Nassar and the USA Gymnastics as liable for Nassar’s groping and fondling two gymnasts during official physical therapy sessions. It comes less than a year after a flurry of allegations were launched at top USA Gymnastics executives for failing to alert authorities of known abuse accusations.
The California lawsuit lists a “Jane Doe” and Rachael Denhollander as the complaintifs. The suit alleges Nassar penetrated Denhollander with his fingers and inappropriately fondled her when she was 15. It additionally accuses USA Gymanstic officials of knowing Nassar faced previous accusations of inappropriate touching but refused to act or alert authorities. While not detailing specific instances, the suit further alleges the USA Gymnastics organization even actively covered up accusations.
The organization has refuted such allegations. “USA Gymnastics today learned about the charges against Dr. Larry Nassar through a media report,” they wrote in a statement. “As we previously have made clear, when USA Gymnastics first learned of athlete concerns regarding Dr. Nassar, those concerns were reported to the FBI and Nassar was dismissed from further involvement with USA Gymnastics. We are unable to comment further due to the ongoing FBI investigation and pending litigation.”
Yet, the allegations against officials continue. In addition to the California lawsuit and the criminal charges, attorneys representing 15 other ex-patients of Dr. Nassar say they are planning to file suit against Michigan State University. The group alleges that Nassar also molested them during purported medical exams.
“We intend to demonstrate that Michigan State University received complaints regarding Dr. Nassar and failed to properly investigate, discipline, and sanction Dr. Nassar for his abusvie and harassing conduct,” lead attorney Stephen Drew said in a media statement announcing his firm’s notice of intent to sue.