On Tuesday, eighteen women filed a federal lawsuit against Dr. Larry Nassar and the three organizations that were associated with him.
The lawsuit claimed that the organizations — Michigan State University, Twistars gymnastics club and USA Gymnastics — did nothing to stop the doctor from using the facade of medical treatments as an excuse to molest athletes.
Nassar already faces three other state lawsuits, criminal sexual abuse charges and federal child pornography charges. It seems that with every new accusation, a darker light is shed on the doctor who had private access to so many athletes — many who were underage.
Two women — one an Olympic medalist — publicly accused Nassar of sexually abusing them. Rachael Denhollander of Louisville, Kentucky, was 15 years old when Dr. Nassar treated her for lower back pain.
She claimed his “treatments” consisted of massaging her breasts and penetrating her with his fingers. Denhollander also said the doctor brought up “oral sex” and referenced his erection during a treatment.
A gymnast who was on the national team from 2006-2011 filed a lawsuit that claimed Nassar performed multiple “intravaginal adjustments” on her. The unrecognized procedure consisted of the doctor “digitally penetrating” the victim’s vagina in an effort to “adjust her bones.”
Nassar was charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct after an investigation prompted his arrest for sexual interaction with a family friend who was under the age of 13. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said:
“She was violated and abused when she was just a young girl. Just a child, a little child. Dr. Nassar stole this victim’s childhood, which can never be undone.”
The alleged sexual assault occurred in his home in Holt, Michigan, between 1998 and 2005, according to ESPN.
Former Michigan State University softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez filed a court case against her former doctor. While she received treatment in 1998, she claimed he put his “bare, ungloved and unlubricated hand into her vagina.”
When Lopez told another trainer what happened, she was “shocked” and told her to talk to a supervisor. The former college athlete claimed that during a meeting with a supervisor in 2000, she wasn’t taken seriously and was told to be “grateful” that such an accredited doctor was treating her.
Nassar was also arrested and charged with two counts of possessing and receiving child pornography. FBI Special Agent Rod Charles testified that more than 37,000 images were found on drives and disks in a trash can outside his home.
Among the pornographic images discovered was footage from a GoPro camera that featured Nassar in his backyard swimming pool touching the genital areas of girls through their swimsuits, according to Agent Charles.
During Nassar’s preliminary hearing in December, Assistant United States Attorney General Sean Lewis said:
“Any case involving child pornography is, of course, serious. But here the defendant has shown through his conduct that he’s a hands-on offender. He’s a hands-on offender in almost every context and position he can work himself into.”
“It’s conduct that’s been going on for more than 15 years. And it’s not just conduct that happened a while ago and he’d moved on. It’s conduct that’s continued to this year.”
At the end of the hearing, Magistrate Judge Raymond said:
“If the testimony of Agent Charles is accurate, Dr. Nassar poses the worst kind of risk to our community: a risk to our children. We simply can’t have somebody like him free in the community with access to children as young as six years old.”
The judge refused bail for Nassar because he considered him a danger to society. Over 60 different accusations have been made against the doctor, since the first girls came forward in September.
The 53-year-old father of three pleaded not guilty to the counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. If found guilty, he faces life in prison.