What you need to know about Nassar and the charges against him
Here's everything you need to know about Dr. Larry Nassar and the charges leveled against him:
The nature of the allegations
Following the sexual abuse allegations that were published by the Indianapolis Star in September, MSU fired Dr. Larry Nassar on Sept. 20.Since the initial allegations, police said about 50 women have come forward with similar allegations to those previously reported, according to the Indy Star.
As allegations continued to pile up, in November, Nassar was charged by the Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with at least one victim younger than 13, the Detroit Free Press reported.
From these charges alone, Nassar could face up to life in prison. He was released after he paid bond, which was set at $1 million.
In December, Nassar was arrested once again, this time by federal law officials on charges relating to the possession of child pornography.
Nassar was indicted on two separate charges: possession of child pornography and the receipt or attempted receipt of child pornography.
According to the indictment, in 2004 Nassar received or attempted to receive images of child pornography.
In addition, the indictment stated that from 2003 through 2016, Nassar possessed one or more computer files or disks that contained thousands of images of child pornography.
Nassar was taken into custody following these charges and was denied bond.
Who is Nassar?
Nassar held a variety of roles at MSU as both a professor and as an athletic trainer, according to a page on MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s website. The page also said Nassar was heavily involved with athletics in high school, earning “no fewer than 10 varsity letters.”
Nassar earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1985, according to “The Michigan Alumnus” from the University of Michigan Alumni Association. He also earned a medical degree from MSU in 1993, according to the college’s website. He became a professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Department of Radiology.
As a professor, Nassar worked for MSU’s Division of Sports Medicine, and taught physical exam skills to osteopathic students, according to the college’s website. Nassar was team physician for the MSU women’s gymnastics and women’s crew teams, according to the college’s website.
Nassar had an extensive outside resume as a doctor and trainer, highlighted by a top position at USA Gymnastics, according to the page.
Nassar is best known for his role with USA Gymnastics, where he worked from 1986 to 2015, according to an Indianapolis Star report. He was national team physician for the USA Women’s Gymnastics team, and he won several awards for his work, according to the college’s website.
According to a page on the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s website, Nassar obtained a patent for a brace for gymnasts with syndesmotic ankle sprains.
In 2012 Nassar was awarded the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine Alumnus of the Year Award, according to a page on the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s website.
In 2016, Nassar ran for school board in Holt. According to another Indianapolis Star report, he dropped out before Election Day, but his name was not removed from ballots. Nassar finished in third in an election won by the top two vote recipients, receiving more than 20 percent of all votes, according to a State News report.
How it all came to light
Nassar is facing accusations of sexual assault and child pornography charges after an investigation featured on an Indianapolis Star report went public.
According to the Indianapolis Star report, there had been reports of school and daycare officials neglecting to report suspected child abuse to the authorities, which encouraged the Indianapolis Star to begin an in-depth investigation in August of 2016. This brought to light Olympic organizations failing to inform authorities of sexual abuse done by coaches.
A few weeks after the Indianapolis Star ran the story, Rachael Denhollander, a gymnast of Louisville, Ky., filed a criminal complaint against Nassar with the Michigan State Police after seeing the Indianapolis Star Report. According to the lawsuit, when Denhollander was 15 years old she was sexually abused while getting treatment for lower back pain at MSU, where Nassar was a faculty member at the time.
In September of 2016, a former Olympic medalist, whose name has not been released to the public, also came forward filing a civil lawsuit in California against Nassar, accusing him of sexual abuse between the years of 1994 and 2000. According to the Indy Star report, the lawsuit also accuses USA Gymnastics and the organization’s past three presidents, including Steve Penny, of failing to act on suspicions of the doctor’s behavior.
Former MSU softball player Tiffany Lopez has also come forward with accusations. According to the lawsuit, Lopez was allegedly sexually abused by Nassar more than 10 times between 1998 and 2001 during medical treatments for chronic back pain, the Lansing State Journal reported.
According to The Detroit Free Press, around 2001, Lopez refused to see Nassar for treatment but was “pressured and coerced” by MSU to declare herself medically inactive, which led to her leaving the university.
Where does it go from here?
Nassar has upcoming court dates in two different court systems.
On Jan. 18 Nassar will be in Ingham County Circuit Court for a civil lawsuit that was filed against him by Katherine Payne. There is a motion to add a party defendant and the first amended complaint will also be filed. The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 22, 2016.
Nassar is also facing charges in federal court. He is currently in the custody of the federal court. He faces two counts of child pornography – one count of receipt and attempted receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. The plaintiff in the case is The United States of America.
Feb. 13 is the final day of pretrial conferences in federal court. According to Dictionary.com a pretrial is “a proceeding held by a judge, arbitrator, etc., before a trial to simplify the issues of law and fact and stipulate certain matters between the parties, in order to expedite justice and curtail costs at the trial.”
On Feb. 21 Nassar’s federal trial before a jury for two counts of child pornography begins. Nassar is represented by Matthew Ryan Newburg.
Stay with The State News for updates on Nassar’s upcoming court dates and appearances.