Sunday, August 9, 2020

Lawsuit says Nassar raped girl in 1992, Trustee Perles interfered in investigation

September 11, 2018
<p>Larry Nassar listens to Judge Cunningham on the third day of sentencing for Larry Nassar on Feb. 5, 2018 in the Eaton County courtroom. Nassar faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County.</p>

Larry Nassar listens to Judge Cunningham on the third day of sentencing for Larry Nassar on Feb. 5, 2018 in the Eaton County courtroom. Nassar faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County.

Ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar drugged and raped a former MSU athlete and MSU Trustee George Perles interfered in an investigation into the abuse, a lawsuit filed in federal court in Grand Rapids says.

Former MSU field hockey player Erika Davis' lawsuit says Nassar recorded his assault of her when she was 17-years-old and he was a student at the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. When she reported the assault to her then-coach Martha Ludwig, Ludwig confronted Nassar and was given the recording.

Under the guise of a flexibility study, Nassar had a cameraman at Davis’ first appointment who filmed the sexual abuse. Nassar asked the cameraman to step outside for a discussion. Nassar asked Davis to come back for a full female exam at her next visit, according to the lawsuit.

At a follow up appointment, Nassar crushed up a pill and gave it to Davis, the lawsuit says.

“However, soon thereafter, Plaintiff Erika got so tired (she) could not move her arms, the lawsuit says. “Eventually, she could not keep her eyelids open and got very woozy. When she was less woozy a short time later, Plaintiff Erika witnessed Defendant Nassar raping her.” 

Davis said she became pregnant by Nassar and later miscarried. She said Nassar took her virginity, making him the only possible father.  

Davis and her friends went to Michigan State University Police Department to report the rape. In the lawsuit, Davis was told by an MSUPD detective because she was an athlete, he was “powerless to investigate” anything having to do with the athletic department and that she had to report to the athletic department.

After reporting the assault to MSUPD, Davis lost her NCAA scholarship.

These allegations predate survivor Larissa Boyce. She said she told former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages about abuse by Nassar in 1997. Klages allegedly convinced Boyce not to file a report, saying it could have serious consequences for her. 

Current MSU Board of Trustees member and former athletic director George Perles intervened and the complaint was dropped, according to the lawsuit. The coach was forced to return the video and signed a non-disclosure agreement. It is believed Ludwig made and kept a copy of the video according to the lawsuit.

Perles resigned as athletic director in 1992. He became a trustee in 2007 and was reelected in 2014.

“We are deeply sorry for the abuses Larry Nassar has committed, and for the trauma experienced by all sexual assault survivors,"  Vice President and University Spokesperson Emily Guerrant said in an email statement. "Sexual abuse, assault and relationship violence are not tolerated in our campus community. While the protocols and procedures mentioned in this lawsuit do not reflect how sexual assault claims are handled at MSU, we are taking the allegations very seriously and looking into the situation.

"MSU is working diligently to create a campus community where all members feel safe to study and work free from the threat of sexual misconduct and relationship violence. At the same time, we want to make sure that when survivors of sexual assault or relationship violence come forward, they are treated with respect, listened to and that we provide the appropriate supports throughout the reporting process.”

The lawsuit names Michigan State University, former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages, former director of the College of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel, former director of SPORTS Medicine Jeffrey Kovan, Douglas Dietzel, former MSU doctors Brooke Lemmon and Destiny Teachnor-Hauk, retired MSU professor of clinical psychology Gary Stollak, USA Gymnastics, Twistars Gymnastics Club and John Geddert.

Nassar is serving a 60 year federal sentence on child pornography. He also faces charges in Ingham and Eaton County. He has been denied for resentencing by both courts.

Stay with The State News as this story develops. This story has been edited for clarification and additional information following its publication.

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