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Team USA gymnastics doctor Nassar behind sexual abuse scandal

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Renowned gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is facing possible jail time because of 22 counts of sexual abuse filed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

During his time as team doctor, Nassar had nine patients who were female gymnasts training for the Olympics. The victims were part of the well-known group USA Gymnastics, a prominent Olympic organization that assembles the national team. Allegedly, two of Nassar’s patients were less than 13 years of age when he sexually abused them.

NBC News cites various testimonies that explicitly describe Nassar’s episodes of sexual abuse, which were often exceedingly graphic and involved involuntary penetration in his office and at local gyms. Victims claim that Nassar told several of the young girls to keep the process a secret from their parents.

Police say more than 80 women have come to testify against him in the trial since the news of the sexual abuse got out. They believe that there are more victims out there who have not yet come forward.

The large-scale offense first unraveled when an anonymous 25-year-old woman testified to having been sexually abused by Nassar at the age of 6. She was a family friend who described how playing a game of hide and seek went awry.

Currently, Nassar is being held without bail for possession of over 37,000 collected images and video recordings of child pornography. He had recorded several videos on a GoPro camera, which showed direct evidence of child molestation. Specifically, the videos revealed images of Nassar groping several young girls while in a pool.

Recently, Nassar received another count against him for allegedly trying to destroy the evidence. Officials found his hard drives that contained the videos and images in a garbage bin.

At least two dozen women have filed complaints and contributed to the lawsuit against Nassar. Some have even filed their own lawsuits for their own experiences. Some victims also filed lawsuits against Bela and Marta Karolyi because they claim that the abuse ordinarily happened at their Texas training facility, where they were expected to be responsible for each gymnast. Both Karolyis deny any involvement or prior awareness of the activities.

Nassar has since pleaded innocent and denied all allegations against him.

Prior to the numerous charges of sexual abuse, Nassar maintained a reputation as a credible doctor for young women practicing professional gymnastics. The charges relate back to the period of time when he was a faculty member at Michigan State University from 1997 to 2016. Last year, the MSU administration fired him after accusations spread.

At Michigan State, Nassar was the Chief Medical Coordinator of the USA Women’s gymnastics team. Now, as allegations continue to surface, many of his former patients are starting to come forward. Most claim that because they were so young, they could not determine that what he was doing was wrong.

Former Olympic gymnast Jamie Dantzscher used to seek Nassar’s help to deal with chronic back pain. In the 2000 Olympic Games, Dantzscher received the bronze medal for Team USA in gymnastics. She was 13 at the time when Nassar conducted a physically intrusive procedure on her and claimed that it was to relieve the back pain and realign her hips. Dantzscher was one of three former elite U.S. gymnasts who recently stepped forward with an accusation of being sexually abused by Nassar. Jessica Howard and former national team member Jeanette Antolin disclosed their memories of sexual abuse involving Nassar on national television.

NBC Sports writes, “All three accused Nassar, a volunteer team doctor for USA Gymnastics for almost three decades before his tenure ended in July 2015, of touching them inappropriately while he disguised the abuse as treatment.”

In her testimony, Dantzscher claims that Nassar prohibited and discouraged his patients from talking during the procedure and talking about the procedure after.

Originally, Dantzscher decided to be an anonymous accuser, referring to herself as “Jane Doe.” When she debuted on 60 Minutes, she disclosed her identity and elaborated on the treatments she received from Nassar during her younger years in competition.

Dantzscher announced on 60 Minutes that she went to Nassar for regular treatment from the time she was a young teenager to around her 18th birthday. She told audience members who tuned into national television that Nassar insisted that they be alone, which violates certain USA Gymnastics policies.

Parents and coaches trusted Nassar to give the proper treatment to each athlete because each athlete was in serious training and competed for hefty prizes.

Attorney John Manly from California indicates that Nassar had some charm to his personality and was able to create a trusting environment.

Nassar was frequently left alone with the young athletes in their rooms where they slept at venues all around the world during competitions. Manly claims that Nassar entices the young women to feel safe around him by giving them candy and listening to their problems.

The latest strike in the case against Nassar comes from one of his assistants, who remains anonymous, claiming that he kept her in the dark about 2014 mandates from the MSU Dean’s office instructing Nassar to always keep a second person in the room with him when operating on a patient.

March 6, 2017

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