22 additional charges brought forward against Nassar
Former MSU employee Larry Nassar has been charged with 22 additional counts of criminal sexual assault, first degree, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a press conference Wednesday.
Each of these counts are life offenses, Schuette said. Criminal sexual conduct is a felony punishable by up to life in prison for each charge, according to a press release from Schuette released at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the start of the press conference.
The 22 charges involved nine young girls, two of whom were under the age of 13 and seven of whom were between the ages of 13 and 16, Schuette said.
"Larry Nassar now faces a total of 25 counts of criminal sexual assault in the first degree," Schuette said.
Five of the charges announced at the press conference Wednesday are related to the two victims who were under the age of 13 at the time of the alleged assault and the remaining 17 are a result of Nassar's alleged sexual penetration of the remaining seven victims between the ages of 13-16 and taking advantage of his position of authority to commit the alleged sexual assaults.
According to the press release, the charges were filed in two counties. The charges were filed at Ingham County’s 55th District Court and Eaton County’s 56A District Court. The charges are a result of Nassar allegedly sexually abusing young female athletes both at his home in Holt and in medical settings, including at the MSU Sports Medicine Clinic and Twistars Gymnastics Club.
“Dr. Nassar preyed on these young girls, just little girls. Dr. Nassar used his status and his authority to engage in horrid sexual assaults under the guise of medical procedures," Schuette said during the press conference. "This guy is disgusting, this guy is despicable, he is a monster."
He violated the oath that every doctor takes to do no harm, Schuette said. Schuette said there is a duty to protect children.
“The girls abused by Dr. Nassar were so young and so innocent that they didn’t fully understand what Nassar was doing to them until many years later," Schuette said. "As Attorney General, these assaults, these criminal acts are horrifying. As a parent and as a father of a daughter, I cannot imagine the heartbreak and the anger and the heartache experienced by parents who took their child to a physician seeking help who then sexually assaulted their daughter."
Schuette’s office is the prosecuting agency, with the MSU Police Department conducting the investigation, according to the release. Schuette said MSU has been a strong partner with his department in investigating the cases.
MSU Police Chief Jim Dunlap said MSUPD is currently investigating more than 80 reported sexual assault cases against Nassar. Dunlap said he wanted to assure survivors that the investigations being conducted are thorough and impartial.
“The allegations of sexual assault against Dr. Nassar continue to increase nearly every day, and we remain constantly in contact with the victims as we move forward,” Dunlap said during the press conference. “Our priority is getting justice for the survivors and we are determined to make certain that occurs. I encourage anyone who may have been a victim of Larry Nassar to come forward by contacting the MSU Police Department.”
Charges include five counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct, first degree: "Sexual penetration of another person under the following circumstance: victim is under the age of 13," according to the release.
According to the press release, Charges also include 17 Counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct, first degree: "Sexual penetration of a victim between the ages of 13-16 and the alleged assailant is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit; or when the actor causes personal injury to the victim and engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes that are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable."
The first allegations against Nassar arose back in August 2016 in a complaint filed with the MSU Police Department. In September 2016, former gymnast Rachael Denhollander and a fellow gymnast accused the former trainer of abuse in a story published in the Indianapolis Star.
During the course of the next month, further complaints were filed with MSUPD regarding abuse at the hands of Nassar and in October MSUPD Chief James Dunlap recommended charges against Nassar with the Michigan Attorney General’s office.
Nassar faced a preliminary examination regarding these charges on Feb. 17 resulting in Judge Donald Allen binding the case for trial in Circuit Court.
Besides allegations of abuse, Nassar faces charges of possession of child pornography handed down by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan on Dec. 19, 2016. The federal indictment handed down alleges Nassar was in possession of “thousands of images of child pornography” between February 2003 and September 2016, and that he attempted to receive child pornography in 2004. Nassar also faces charges of destruction of evidence.
The case will be prosecuted by Attorneys General Angela Povilaitis and Robyn Liddell, attorneys with the Attorney General Cold Case Sexual Assault Project.
A conviction of Nassar on these federal charges could result in a “mandatory minimum of five years’ imprisonment and up to 40 years of imprisonment, and up to lifetime supervised release after release from custody.”
Nassar will be arraigned on Thursday at the 55th District Court in Mason, Mich. at 10 a.m. and via video arraignment for 56A District Court in Charlotte, Mich. at 1 p.m., according to the press release.
Stay with The State News for updates as these cases continue to unfold.