Former US Gymnasts Accuse Physician Of Sexual Abuse

INDIANAPOLIS — Two former gymnasts, including an Olympic medalist, have accused a prominent, longtime team physician for USA Gymnastics of sexual abuse.

One of the women filed a civil lawsuit Thursday in California that was released Monday. The other filed a complaint two weeks ago with police in Michigan.

The women, in separate interviews with IndyStar, provided detailed accounts that closely mirrored each other as they outlined their allegations against Dr. Larry G. Nassar. Nassar served as USA Gymnastics' team physician during four Olympic Games and resigned his position last September with little public notice.

Nassar, a faculty member at Michigan State University who has treated the university's gymnasts, has not been charged with any crime. His lawyer, Matthew Borgula, said Nassar “emphatically” denies any wrongdoing.

After being shown a copy of the civil lawsuit Monday, Borgula added, "Dr. Nassar, to the extent the allegations are against him, adamantly denies any misconduct at this or any other time."

The women said they were molested during multiple treatments in the 1990s and early 2000s. The two women said the doctor fondled their genitals and breasts. One of them said Nassar also spoke about oral sex and made other inappropriate comments when they were alone, according to court records. The other woman said she told police Nassar was visibly aroused as he examined her during one medical visit.

On Thursday, one of the former gymnasts — the Olympic medalist — sued Nassar and USA Gymnastics in California, where she lives. The woman, who is unnamed in the suit, alleges that the Indianapolis-based organization failed to act on suspicions about the doctor’s conduct. She said USA Gymnastics allowed Nassar to examine her alone in private rooms in violation of best practices and the organization’s current standards of conduct.

The other woman, who lives in Kentucky, filed a police complaint against Nassar last week at Michigan State University. As a teenage gymnast, she was treated there by Nassar, according to medical records.

The university said Wednesday that it has suspended Nassar from "clinical and patient duties" as it looks into his alleged criminal misconduct. University officials also began an investigation under Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs.

In addition to serving as a faculty member at Michigan State’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nassar is a team physician at Twistars Gymnastics Club USA in Michigan and worked until Aug. 30 as a team physician for Michigan State University and Holt High School. Officials at Michigan State and Twistars said USA Gymnastics did not inform them of the concerns. Nassar resigned from USA Gymnastics last fall but continued to work with young athletes at Michigan State and Twistars.

On Monday, USA Gymnastics reiterated a statement it made last week in response to questions from IndyStar, before the civil lawsuit was filed:

“Dr. Nassar is no longer affiliated with USA Gymnastics. Upon learning of athlete concerns, USA Gymnastics immediately notified law enforcement. Since then, we have cooperated fully with the law enforcement agency, including refraining from making further statements or taking any other action that might interfere with the agency’s investigation. We are grateful to the athletes for coming forward to share their concerns.”

Copyright 2016 WFMY


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