Judge Donald Allen Jr. made his decision about the longtime team physician for USA Gymnastics after hearing testimony from the alleged victims over two days and watching a campus police interview of Dr. Larry Nassar.
FBI catch former USA gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar, with huge cache of child rape videos, photos
It is one of four Michigan criminal cases against Nassar following reports last year in the Indianapolis Star about how USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, mishandled complaints about sexual misconduct involving the doctor and coaches.
Women and girls said the stories inspired them to step forward with detailed allegations of abuse, sometimes when their parents were in the exam room at Michigan State.
“He convinced these girls that this was some type of legitimate treatment,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Poviliatis told the judge. “Why would they question him? Why would they question this gymnastics god?”
Larry Nassar, [photo, in court], didn’t testify nor did his lawyers offer an argument against sending the case to trial. The legal threshold in Michigan is probable cause, a low standard at the initial stages of a criminal case.
The final evidence Friday was a video of Nassar’s 40-minute interview last August with a Michigan State police detective, who was investigating a complaint from a former gymnast, now in her 30s.
He was not under arrest and spoke voluntarily.
Larry Nassar was the doctor for four U.S. Olympic teams
￼Rachel Denhollander one of two former gymnasts who allege sexual abuse by longtime USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. She filed a criminal complaint in Michigan, last August
Dr. Nassar denied any inappropriate contact and said he got no sexual pleasure from treating gymnasts. He said if he had an erection, as a gymnast claimed, “that’s rather embarrassing.”
The camera was above Nassar’s head. He repeatedly moved his arms and hands as he explained his techniques, using phrases such as “lift and shift” and “tissue tension” to describe treatments for back and hip injuries. He sighed, scratched his forehead and appeared frustrated with the allegations against him.
“I’m trying my best to help the patient. I’m trying to get real-time feedback. I don’t want to hurt someone,” Nassar told Det. Sgt. Andrea Munford.
Tiffany Lopez has sued Larry Nassar for serial sexual assaults spanning three collegiate years which cut short her career at Michigan State
Lindsey Lemke, estimates she was molested hundreds of times during three years of treatment and is suing the osteopathic physician and the university.
Amanda [photo], says during a physical exam Nassar sent a female resident elsewhere, and began manipulating her breast and “made an off-hand comment about how my boyfriend needed to give me better massages.”
He asked her to lie face-down on a table and “he pulled the sweatpants down and started massaging around my butt and then slipped his finger in between my legs,” she said.
“I was paralyzed with fear and frozen.”
When he started to insert his fingers into her vagina, Amanda said, she pushed him off and told him to stop. She said he was clearly aroused and rushed to a corner and stood with his back to her.
“I knew that what he was doing to me was sexual,” she said. “I wanted to get out of the room as fast as I could.”
The judge watched the video and later noted that Nassar had put his fingers in a position that matched the testimony of one of the alleged victims, who said the doctor had penetrated her with his hands in 2000.
“Every victim who testified was unambiguous” about being molested, Poviliatis said. “They were clear and consistent and precise.”
Outside of the criminal cases, Nassar and Michigan State are being sued by dozens of women and girls. Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics also is a defendant in some of the lawsuits.
Larry Nassar will appear in court in Eaton County next Friday on assault charges involving two more gymnasts.
He’s separately charged in federal court in Grand Rapids with possessing child pornography.
Former Team USA gymnasts, from left: Jamie Dantzscher, Jessica Howard and Jeanette Antolin discuss abuse by team doctor Larry Nassar
John Manly, the attorney suing USA Gymnastics for failing to protect female athletes believes every Olympic team since 1996 has had members abused by Dr. Lawrence Nassar, because the sports authorities were asleep at the wheel to the detriment of the mostly juvenile athletes.
“Because this is somebody who is a serial predator. But the story here is that no one was watching to protect these girls. And they put medals and money first.” Manly said