Female athletes sue famed U.S. sports doctor for sexual assault

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By Daniel Trotta

<span class="articleLocation”>Eighteen female athletes on Tuesday sued a
sports doctor to Olympian gymnasts, saying he sexually assaulted
them under the guise of medical examinations over two decades
when most of them were minors.

Larry Nassar, once a team doctor for Olympians at USA
Gymnastics and a former employee at Michigan State University,
has been in federal custody since December on child pornography
charges. He also faces separate charges in Michigan for sexual
abuse of a minor, who was neither an athlete nor a patient when
police say she was abused from ages 6 to 12.

Nassar is also under investigation by Michigan authorities
who say they have received more than 50 complaints of sexual
abuse by the doctor.

The lawsuit says Michigan State University failed to act on
complaints about Nassar from two of the plaintiffs in 1999 and

It also says USA Gymnastics, the U.S. governing body for the
sport, failed to alert Michigan State when it learned about
Nassar’s alleged misconduct in 2015.

An attorney for Nassar did not immediately respond to a
request for comment. His attorneys have denied any misconduct in
the past, and he has pleaded not guilty to the state and federal
criminal charges.

The lawsuit accuses Nassar of treating hip, leg, back and
ankle injuries with what he called “inter-vaginal adjustments”
that involved digital penetration without the consent of the
athletes or their parents.

The athletes, aged 9 to 29 at the time of the allegations,
participated in gymnastics, softball, basketball, soccer, figure
skating and swimming, the lawsuit said.

Michigan State and USA Gymnastics both said in separate
statements they could not comment on the lawsuit but that they
were cooperating with criminal investigators.

Most of the accusers were unnamed but plaintiff Rachael
Denhollander has identified herself publicly, saying she was
repeatedly sexually assaulted by Nassar “under the guise of
medical examinations” when she was 15 years old.

USA Gymnastics said it immediately began cooperating with
the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2015, when it severed
ties with Nassar upon learning of athlete concerns.

Michigan State said it started its own investigation in 2014
and that no other accusers came forward until 2016.

“Our hearts go out to those directly affected,” the
university said in a statement. “The criminal investigation into
Larry Nassar is a top priority for MSU Police.”

Nassar faces another civil lawsuit in California from an
unnamed Olympian accusing him of sexual misconduct.

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