Nassar in the News: New allegations, petition for change in USA Gymnastics leadership
The impact of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar extends beyond MSU, and its coverage spans internationally. Catch up with the Nassar-related news you may have missed below. For more information, select the links to be directed to the original articles.
Nassar is accused of sexually abusing over 140 women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. He was arrested in December 2016 on charges of possessing “at least 37,000” images of child pornography to which he has pleaded guilty. His sentencing for these charges is set for Dec. 7.
Nassar additionally faces criminal sexual assault charges in Ingham County and Eaton County. Trials for these charges will begin in early 2018. He is also a defendant in a number of civil cases, many alongside MSU.
And now, for the news you might have missed, in order from most to least recent:
Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson East commented on the Weinstein controversy and the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal linked to Nassar. Johnson East said the more conversation there is about the issue, the more it will liberate people.
Johnson East is a former American gymnast and current YouTuber. She competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Commenting on the USA Gymnastics controversy, Johnson East said, "I know that USA Gymnastics is doing is much to turn the sport around and to kind of give a new face to the platform and do everything they can to bring positive energy back."
Nassar hearing: New witnesses approved, trial will stay in Ingham County | The State News | Nov. 3, 2017
During a court hearing Friday, 13 motions filed in Ingham County were discussed. The motions all related to Nassar's upcoming trial in Ingham County.
As determined during the hearing, Nassar's federal child pornography charges — to which he pleaded guilty in federal court — won't be included as forms of evidence in the Ingham County trial.
Other decisions made during the hearing include granting additional testimonies from six women, who all allege they were also abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment, and excluding findings from an investigation from MSU's Title IX office.
A number of proposed motions were denied, too. Among those: a motion to push the trial to another date, a motion to change the trial's location, a motion to offer evidence of past sexual history of an alleged victim and a motion to quash four of the charges against Nassar.
Couch: Memo to Penn State – MSU's Nassar scandal doesn't lessen sins tied to Sandusky | Lansing State Journal | Nov. 3, 2017
In a column, Lansing State Journal sports columnist Graham Couch argues Penn State fans who attack MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon for being hypocritical should re-evaluate their own standpoints.
Couch said a group of people in the Penn State community have attacked Simon for condemning Penn State while her own institution has been riddled with controversy concerning Nassar. Couch also said that MSU has been paying in reputation and financially.
"What happened at Michigan State, whatever culpability for culture or oversight Simon had, does not make her condemnation of what took place at Penn State any less justified," Couch argued.
Meet the attorney defending Michigan's most notorious sex cases | MLive | Nov. 2, 2017
Shannon Smith is an attorney not only for Nassar, but also for Josh King, one of the three ex-MSU football players facing sexual assault charges, and Detroit-area doctor Jumana Nagarwala, who is accused of female genital mutilation.
Smith told MLive she likes when the stakes are high, and she turns down 90-95 percent of the people who seek her help.
"I'm very blunt and very honest with people," Smith told MLive. "And there have been clients that have sat down with me and I've said what you are telling me is not believable. I don't believe you, and if I don't believe you I can't sell this story to a jury," Smith said.
Olympic and National Team Champion Gymnasts Launch Change.org Petition to Demand New Leadership at USA Gymnastics | PR Newswire | Oct. 19, 2017
Three Olympic and National Team gymnasts launched a petition on Change.org, demanding that three of the top USA Gymnastics officers be removed. The petition is written to the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics' main sponsors.
"USA Gymnastics Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley have focused their attention on money and medals while USA Gymnastics is attempting to cover up the largest child sex abuse scandal in the history of sports," the petition states. "They must be replaced by people who will put the health and safety of athletes first."
The goal is to get 15,000 people to sign the petition. At the time of publication, 12,437 people have signed.
McKayla Maroney's Fierce Five teammates show support after sexual abuse allegations | New York Daily News | Oct. 19, 2017
In response to former American Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney's statement that she was sexually abused by Nassar, her teammates publicly showed their support for her.
“Although I personally have not suffered any physical assault or sexual abuse while competing as a gymnast, my heart goes out to McKayla and the victims like her who have endured this abuse of power,” former American Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber said.
Former American Olympic gymnast Kyla Ross wrote that the situation was "heartbreaking" and said, "My heart goes out to you mac & all those affected by such tragic events."
Former American Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, who previously criticized USA Gymnastics for how they have handled the Nassar controversy, said, "100% support you. So proud of your strength. Love you like a sister.”
McKayla Maroney: "I was molested by Dr. Larry Nassar" | The State News | Oct. 18, 2017
Maroney accused Nassar of abusing her under the guise of medical treatment throughout her career in a #MeToo tweet. In the post, she said she was first abused by Nassar at 13 years old and that the abuse continued until she retired from gymnastics.
She also alleges Nassar gave her a sleeping pill on a team flight and assaulted her in his hotel room upon landing.
"I thought I was going to die that night," Maroney said.
Senate Extends, Removes Deadline in Sex Misconduct Cases | U.S. News | Oct. 17, 2017
The Michigan Senate unanimously voted to eliminate or lengthen the statute of limitations for filing charges in sexual misconduct cases, which would allow those who were abused as children to file charges years later.
The change in legislation largely stems from the bill's sponsor, Democrat Sen. Steve Bieda of Warren, who said he saw many women file charges against Nassar years after the alleged abuse had happened.
"You ask them, 'Well why didn't you bring it forward at this time?'" he said. "Well, 'I was afraid or I was still living at home or I was still in this situation where this person who was the perpetrator had some sort of power over me.' ...Michigan as a state's going to stand for justice and is going to stand on the side of the victim in these situations."
Judge denies motion to delay Nassar Ingham County trial | The State News | Oct. 13, 2017
An Ingham County judge denied a motion to push back ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar's Ingham County trial until after his federal sentencing. The motion was filed by Nassar and his attorneys, where they argued delaying Nassar's Ingham case would help Nassar have a fair trial.
"It is reasonable to expect that media interest in Defendant Nassar will be at one of its highest points on the days leading up to and immediately following the federal sentencing. ... Starting jury selection just three days before will undoubtedly undermine one of the most fundamental rights a criminal defendant has in this country — the right to a fair trail," the attorneys wrote.
Prosecutors also supported the motion, but the judge said she was "shocked and dismayed at this request," stating the jury instructions to ignore media reports.
Stay with The State News for more coverage of Larry Nassar, his cases and MSU's responses.