Two Former Gymnasts Accuse Team USA Doctor of Sexual Abuse
A high profile doctor with USA Gymnastics for four Olympics has been accused of sexually abusing gymnasts.
Dr. Larry Nassar, a longtime and widely respected physician for Team USA gymnastics and a faculty member at Michigan State University, has been accused of sexual abuse by two former gymnasts, one of whom was an Olympic medalist. One woman, who remains anonymous, filed a civil lawsuit in California last week; the other, Rachael Denhollander, filed a police complaint in Michigan. Both reached out to the Indianapolis Star after reading the paper's earlier report detailing USA Gymnastics' failure to forward reports of sexual abuse to the proper authorities. From the Star:
"The women said they were molested during multiple treatments in the 1990s and early 2000s. The two women said the doctor fondled their genitals and breasts. One of them said Nassar also spoke about oral sex and made other inappropriate comments when they were alone, according to court records. The other woman said she told police Nassar was visibly aroused as he examined her during one medical visit."
Both Denhollander and Jane Doe allege that Nassar digitally penetrated them in the vagina and anus while claiming to provide treatment. The women spoke to the Star independently, but told substantially similar versions of events, including that they did not understand that what was happening was wrong, and also that they felt like they should be honored to be treated by Nassar since he was such a prominent and respected figure in USA Gymnastics.
Nassar had been the Team USA physician for four Olympics but quietly resigned last September. He has also been suspended by Michigan State, pending an investigation into the allegations. While his attorney denied all of the allegations and stressed that the resignation had nothing to do with them, he did acknowledge that Team USA had made Nassar aware of potential criminal allegations against him before he left his position.