Larry Nassar — who used his position as an elite doctor with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University to groom and sexually abuse young girls and women for more than 20 years — has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for possession of 37,000 images of child pornography found on his computer. Next week, he will get a veritable life sentence when he is sentenced by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina for seven counts of sex abuse that he pleaded guilty to last fall. He will, thankfully, never be a free man again.
But this story is far from over.
One hundred and fifty — 150! — women have come forward to accuse Nassar of sexually abusing them. He abused most of them under the guise of medical treatment, digitally penetrating them without gloves while he performed sensitive procedures on their hips and back. Many victims report him becoming aroused, and even touching himself during the abuse, and he was so brazen that he’d often assault the girls and women while parents were in the room, using his body to block their view. Allegations against him date back to the early 1990s, and there are reports of women coming forward to report the abuse to colleagues of Nassar’s as early as 1997.
By all accounts, Nassar was a master manipulator, and had many fooled about who he really was. Even so, there were many signs missed, reports ignored, and efforts made to keep victims quiet — and now, there are still individuals at USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and Twistars Gymnastics Club who need to be held accountable for their roles in this massive, devastating, and systemic failure to protect girls and women.
Not all enabling looks the same. Sometimes it means deliberately looking the other way when you see abuse taking place; sometimes it means facilitating an environment so full of fear that victims don’t feel comfortable reporting; sometimes it means refusing to believe a monster lurks inside of someone you care about, and ignoring the many signs that it’s true; and sometimes it means not taking every possible step to seek justice for victims once you become aware of crimes against them.
Larry Nassar was the abuser, but it took a village of enablers to allow his abuse to continue for so long, and to devastate the lives of so many victims and their families.
Kathie Klages, former Michigan State gymnastics coach
Kathie Klages began working with Nassar (and John Geddert, who we will get to later) at Great Lake Gymnastics five years before she became the head coach of women’s gymnastics at Michigan State University, a position she held until 2017 — a total of 27 years.
In the fall of 1997, 16-year-old Larissa Boyce and an unnamed 14-year-old gymnast told Klages that Nassar had digitally penetrated them dozens of times, and had become sexually aroused during treatments. Klages didn’t report either incident. She also discouraged Boyce from reporting, saying, “I can file this, but there are going to be serious consequences for you and Nassar,” according to an investigation by the Detroit News. Then she told Nassar, but didn’t tell Boyce’s parents.
In September 2016, after the Indianapolis Star published a report about Nassar’s abuse that led to him finally getting fired by MSU, Klages circulated a card for Nassar, asking gymnasts to sign it as a show of support. At the time, there were gymnasts in the program who now say they were abused by Nassar — including Lindsey Lemke, who says he sexually assaulted her hundreds of times.
Even in December 2016, after dozens of sexual abuse allegations against Nassar surfaced and 37,000 pornographic images were found on Nassar’s computer equipment, Klages continued to defend the doctor. As reported by NBC News, Lemke’s mother, Christy Lemke-Akeo, approached Klages that month, before Lindsey went to the police to report the abuse; Klages told her that the pornography might have been “planted” and insisted what Nassar was doing was a “legal medical procedure.”
Kathy Klages was suspended by MSU in February 2017 due to her “passionate defense” of Nassar to her gymnasts; the day after the suspension, she announced her retirement, effective immediately. She reportedly received her full pension. In August 2017, she worked for a few days at Twistars, the gym owned by John Geddert.
Dr. William Strampel, former Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State
Dean Strampel was Nassar’s boss at MSU. In 2014, Strampel suspended Nassar during Title IX and police investigations that were triggered after a student told a couple of employees at the sports medical clinic that she “felt violated” by Nassar. But once Nassar was cleared by the Title IX investigation in July 2014, he was allowed to returned to work at the clinic, despite the ongoing police investigation.
As reported by Michigan Radio, Strampel emailed Nassar after the Title IX investigation saying he was “happy to have [him] back in full practice,” and relayed a few guidelines that Nassar should follow when “approaching a patient to perform procedures of anything close to a sensitive area” that were supposed to prevent the patient from having a negative “interpretation” of his treatment.
According to some of Nassar’s victims, however, these guidelines were not properly enforced. That’s because Strampel told detectives that he didn’t see a need to publicize or enforce these guidelines because they were “healthcare 101,” according to ESPN. So Nassar saw patients for another 16 months while still under criminal investigation. More than a dozen young women and girls say they were abused after the Title IX investigation concluded.
In September 2016, when IndyStar began investigating the allegations against Nassar, Strampel wrote to Nassar, “I am on your side.” After the IndyStar article about Nassar’s abuse was published, Strampel e-mailed another administrator at MSU, “I expect that this will be all over the paper tomorrow . . . Cherry on the Cake of my day!!!” according to reports by the Washington Post.
Rachael Denhollander, the first Nassar victim to come forward publicly, was the only named subject of that IndyStar investigation. She was understandably appalled when his reaction was reported, and called for him to be fired for more than a year.
“You can’t go back and ask the questions you should have been asking all along. The damage is done. Little girls walked through Nassar’s door for years while you were the Dean, and came back out scarred in ways you’ll never understand. And you were wishing him ‘good luck,'” Denhollander wrote in an open letter to Strampel in May 2017.
Strampel continued to work at MSU until December 2017, when he stepped down as Dean due to “medical reasons.”
Kristine Moore, Assistant General Counsel at Michigan State
In 2014, Kristine Moore, the Assistant Director for Institutional Equity at MSU, was assigned to investigate the Title IX complaint brought against Nassar. Many of the steps she took during this investigation are alarming — for instance, she only interviewed doctors who were close friends of Nassar and had strong connections to MSU, and she did not search Nassar’s work computer.
The investigation ultimately cleared Nassar, concluding that the victim didn’t understand the “nuanced difference” between sexual abuse and medical procedures. It did establish the aforementioned guidelines for Nassar going forward — such as stating he was not allowed to be alone with patients when treating them in sensitive areas — but, of course, those weren’t enforced.
And according to the Lansing State Journal, Moore produced two different Title IX reports — and the one provided to the victim, Amanda Thomashow, contained less information than the one provided to Nassar and the university. Thomashow, who went on to file civil lawsuit against MSU, also alleges that Moore’s Title IX report left out two crucial facts: that Nassar had an erection when he touched her, and that he didn’t stop touching her until she physically removed his hands.
Moore is still employed at MSU, and now serves as Assistant General Counsel.
Dr. Brooke Lemmen, Nassar’s Michigan State colleague and “protege”
Dr. Brooke Lemmen, a doctor at MSU and a close friend of Nassar’s, was selected by Nassar to be one of the four doctors who reviewed the allegations against him in the 2014 Title IX investigation, in which concluded that the victim didn’t understand the “nuanced difference” between the medical procedure and assault. Moore and the other doctors agreed with her assessment.
In 2015, Nassar told Lemmen that he was being investigated by USA Gymnastics for sexual abuse, but she did not disclose this to anyone at MSU at the time. Nassar continued to work at MSU — and abuse women and girls — for over a year. After Nassar was finally fired from MSU in 2016, Lemmen removed several boxes of confidential treatment records at Nassar’s request. She eventually returned them to MSU.
Lemmen resigned in January 2017 amid reports that MSU was planning to fire her.
Lianna Hadden and Destiny Teachnor-Hauk, athletic trainers at Michigan State
As reported by Detroit News, Michigan State University softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez says that in 2000, she told her team’s trainer, Lianna Hadden, that she was sexually abused by Nassar. Hadden was alarmed, and told Thomas Lopez to talk to another athletic trainer at MSU, Destiny Teachnor-Hauk.
Thomas Lopez says Teachnor-Hauk assured her that Nassar was performing “actual medical treatment,” and that pursuing a report would “cast a burden over [her] family” and “cause a lot of heartache.”
This week in court, another Nassar victim, Jennifer Rood Bedford, testified that Thomas Lopez wasn’t the only one who alerted Hadden about Nassar. Rood Bedford said that two years after Thomas Lopez’s allegations, she also told Hadden that Nassar made her uncomfortable, but was essentially discouraged from filing an official report.
During a Title IX investigation into Nassar’s behavior in 2014, Teachnor-Hauk told Kristine Moore, the leader of the Title IX investigation, that she had never once had a complaint about Nassar in 17 years. Detroit News reports that she said the same thing in a March 2017 police report. Thomas Lopez was distraught when she heard of Teachnor-Hauk’s denials, saying, “My life has been turned upside down because she decided not to tell my truth.”
Hadden still works at MSU; she is currently an athletic trainer with the volleyball team. Teachnor-Hauk is also still with MSU; she is the athletic trainer in charge of MSU women’s gymnastics and a supervising trainer for rowing teams and the Jenison training room.
Lou Anna K. Simon, Michigan State President
Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon was told in 2014 that a Title IX complaint was filed against an unnamed physician at the school — but she never followed up on that information, nor did she ask to see the final report, according to the Detroit News.
We know now that Title IX investigation into Nassar was incredibly flawed — which was the norm at MSU during that time. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights determined in an investigation that MSU’s handling of Title IX complaints contributed to a “sexually hostile environment” on campus.
Simon has repeatedly shirked any responsibility for Nassar’s abuse. In an April 2017 letter to the MSU Board of Trustees, Simon infamously said, “I have been told it is virtually impossible to stop a determined sexual predator and pedophile, that they will go to incomprehensible lengths to keep what they do in the shadows.”
But victims aren’t buying it. Lindsey Lemke directly addressed Simon in her testimony on Thursday, as reported by the Lansing State Journal.
“To Lou Anna Simon,” Lemke said. “I don’t even know how you are still in the position that you are in. I don’t know how you can still call yourself a president, because I don’t anymore. You are no president of mine as a student and former athlete of Michigan State University. Guess what? You’re a coward, too.”
“You say you aren’t responsible for this. I wish you would come up to this podium and be half as brave as all of us have had to be the past year and a half,” she continued. “To be brave enough to come up here and confidently tell us the reasons why you don’t think that you are responsible.”
Simon was not present at the first, third, or fourth days of Nassar’s sentencing hearing this week, though she did come by and speak briefly to reporters on the second day. During this interview, she could not recall the names of any of the victims who have spoken.
Simon remained in her position as president of the university until the beginning of 2018, despite the fact that victims, politicians, local papers, and alumni called for her to be ousted. She is one of the highest-paid public university presidents in the country — in 2016, she earned $850,000 in total compensation.
On the evening of January 24, 2018, after 156 victims came forward and testified at Nassar’s seven-day sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, and Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison, Simon announced her resignation.
“As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger,” she said.
She has the option to return to the university as a faculty member, and take a 12-month research leave where she would be paid her current $750,000 base salary.
Michigan State Board of Trustees
Any pressure for Simon to resign over this scandal certainly isn’t coming from MSU’s Board of Trustees.
Michigan Radio reports that one trustee, Joel Ferguson, called the victims’ civil attorneys “ambulance chasers” looking to get a “pay day” by blaming MSU. He also said that after all of this settles down, MSU is going to look “great.”
The trustees have vehemently stood up for President Simon, Athletic Director Mark Hollis, and the entire administration — and often have pushed back against claims by victims. (They always maintain they can’t provide details because of ongoing civil litigation.)
“We believe the evidence will show no MSU official believed that Nassar committed sexual abuse prior to newspaper reports in late summer 2016.”
“We hope you understand that when we push back against accusations made by plaintiffs’ lawyers about the university, and the university defends itself in the civil litigation, it is not a reflection of our view of the victims for whom we have the utmost respect and sympathy but our desire to set the record straight and to protect MSU’s educational and research missions,” the trustees wrote in an open letter in December 2017.
The university hired a former federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald — who is now the head of MSU’s legal team in these cases — to conduct an internal investigation into MSU’s handling of these matters, but that investigation did not result in any report or public facts of finding, just a statement from Fitzgerald saying, “We believe the evidence will show no MSU official believed that Nassar committed sexual abuse prior to newspaper reports in late summer 2016.”
In December 2017, the trustees pushed the university to establish a $10 million fund to provide counseling services to Nassar’s victims, but a month later, very little is known about how the victims can access that money and how the fund will operate.
This week, after four straight days of victim testimonies, the trustees once again denied that there was any cover-up, but also announced that they had asked Michigan Attorney General bill Schuette to investigate the school’s handling of the assault allegations against Nassar. They also met behind closed doors on Friday, with the public pressure to oust Simon mounting.
Only one trustee attended the hearing the seven-day sentencing hearing in Lansing to hear from victims of Nassar; she came for one day, alongside Simon. The others claim to be watching on the live-stream. Midway through the hearing, the Michigan State Board of Trustees met and reinforced its full support of Simon.
“The meeting we had the other day was five hours. And talking Lou Anna was 10 minutes. We unanimously decided in that meeting right away that Lou Anna was going to, that we were going to support her staying as president. There’s so many more things going on at the university than just this Nassar thing,” Trustee Joel Ferguson said on a local radio show.
The board accepted Simon’s resignation the following week. On January 25, East Lansing mayor Mark Meadows called on the entire Michigan State Board of Trustees to step down.
Mark Hollis, Michigan State Athletic Director
There’s no evidence that Hollis knew about the allegations against Nassar before 2016. However, his actions since have upset many of the victims and MSU alumni. It took Hollis more than five months to reach out to current and former female MSU athletes to directly address the allegations against Nassar, and to inform them how to report any abuse they experienced at his hands.
And it’s important to note that MSU’s trouble with sexual assault controversies does not begin and end with Nassar. Last year, four MSU football players were charged with sexual assault, and a woman is currently suing MSU after allegedly being assaulted by a former football player in 2016.
Hollis, a 1985 Michigan State graduate who has worked at the school since 1995 and served as athletic director since 2008, makes nearly $1 million a year.
Hollis announced his resignation on Friday, January 26. Later that day, ESPN published an explosive investigation into egregious mishandlings of sexual assault complaints throughout the athletic director.
Dr. Gary Stollak, Michigan State psychologist
Kyle Stephens — a family friend of Nassar’s and one of the few victims who was not abused under the guise of medical treatment — says she told Dr. Stollak, a former MSU professor and clinical psychologist, about Nassar’s sexual abuse in 2004.
Stephens says Nassar started abusing her when she was six years old. She told her parents about the abuse when she was in the sixth grade, and they immediately took her to see Dr. Stollak. According to ESPN, Stollak arranged a meeting between her parents and Nassar, in which Nassar vehemently denied the allegations. Stephens was not present at that meeting, but afterwards, her parents took her to Nassar’s house and made her apologize to him.
Stephens visited Stollak’s office approximately eight times, both by herself and with her parents, and Stollak never asked her about Nassar’s abuse when she was alone.
Stollak testified in court that he suffered a stroke after retirement, and that as a result, his memory is significantly impaired. He also said that he disposed of the notes he kept on his clients once he retired. Stollack was bound by state law to report suspected abuse, but there is no evidence that he did so. He told the court he didn’t recall treating Stephens.
Stollak retired from Michigan State in 2010.
Bela and Martha Karolyi
The legendary gymnastics coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi have been named alongside Nassar in some lawsuits in California, with one complaint alleging that the Karolyis “turned a blind eye to Nassar’s sexual abuse of children.”
The Karolyis run the infamous Karolyi ranch, the secluded facility in Texas that served as a training site for USA Gymnastics, where many elite gymnasts say they were abused. The Karolyis ranch hosted monthly training camps for gymnasts on the national team, and often was the location for competitions and other events.
According to CNN, the complaint that names the Karolyis says they created a “toxic environment” that gave Nassar the opportunity to sexually abuse the gymnasts because they ruled the ranch with fear and intimidation — even subjecting the young gymnasts to verbal and physical abuse, and depriving them of food and water.
“As adults, we all have an obligation to protect children,” John Manly, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the two lawsuits that name the Karolyis as defendants, told USA Today. “Now, did the Karolyis intend for [Nassar] to molest kids? I certainly doubt they did, but that’s not the issue. The issue is, who was watching him and who supervised him? And the short answer is, nobody.”
The Karolyis have “vehemently” denied all allegations through their attorney, Gary Jewell. This isn’t the first time they’ve been accused of physical or verbal abuse, though; in 2008, a former Romanian national team gymnast said that Bela Karolyi physically abused her while training for the 1976 Olympics. In her 2012 book, 1996 Olympic gold medalist for Team USA, Dominique Moceanu, alleged that Martha Karolyi physically abused her, and that Bela Karolyi shamed her for her weight.
Following calls from Simone Biles and Ally Raisman this week to shut down the ranch, USA Gymnastics announced on Thursday that it was severing ties with the Karolyi Ranch and was cancelling the national team training camp scheduled there for next week. However, when the announcement was made, Team USA gymnasts were in the midst of training sessions at the ranch, and the IndyStar reports that one more event will be held there — the World Team Trials for the acrobatic gymnastics program that are scheduled to begin the first day of February.
Martha Karolyi took over for Bela as national team coordinator in 2001, but retired after the 2016 Olympics.
Steve Penny, Paul Parilla, and the USA Gymnastics Board
The first known report of Nassar’s abuse to USA Gymnastics was in 2015, when Sarah Jantzi, the coach of Maggie Nichols, overheard Nichols telling Aly Raisman about one of Nassar’s treatment sessions. Jantzi was alarmed, so she notified USA Gymnastics officials and Nichols’ parents.
USA Gymnastics did not notify law enforcement right away. Instead, it hired a workplace harassment investigator to look into the matter, and didn’t report the allegations to law enforcement until five weeks later.
This Tuesday, after Nichols went public with her allegations to ESPN and criticized USAG’s delay in reporting the abuse, USAG released a jaw-dropping statement stating that after its private investigator talked to Raisman and Nichols, it didn’t have “reasonable suspicion” they had been molested by Nassar. USAG says it went to the FBI only after speaking with a third victim.
Around the time that USAG finally notified the FBI, Nassar and USAG officially parted ways — though USAG allowed Nassar to publicly portray it as a retirement.
According to reports by ESPN, Steve Penny, who was the president of USAG at the time, called Nichols’ mother, Gina, a day after she first reported Nichols’ allegations to officials. He didn’t inquire about Nichols’ wellbeing; instead, Gina says Penny told her, “We need to keep this quiet. It’s very sensitive. We don’t want this to get out.” Gina told ESPN that Penny repeatedly asked for her discretion in the coming months.
Raisman and her mother, Lynn, say Penny and USAG asked them to keep quiet as well. The Wall Street Journal reported that USAG paid Raisman’s London teammate McKayla Maroney $1.25 million to keep quiet about years of sex abuse.
According to Raisman and Nichols, Penny often cited the FBI’s investigation into Nassar as a reason they needed to stay quiet. However, neither Raisman nor Nichols were interviewed by the FBI until a year after Nassar’s abuse was reported to USAG. Raisman wasn’t contacted by the FBI until a month after the Rio Olympics.
“Steve Penny was trying to control when I was going to be interviewed by the FBI,” Raisman told ESPN. “He was trying to control every part of it. The biggest priority was to make sure I kept it quiet so they’d have a good Olympics. It’s disgusting.”
USA Gymnastics has faced allegations of mishandling sexual abuse complaints and providing unsafe environments throughout its ranks, but it particularly fostered a dangerous climate for its elite competitors. Parents were not allowed to stay with their children at Karolyi Ranch or during international competitions, where multiple victims — including Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney — now say they were sexually assaulted and abused.
“He was the only male allowed to be present in the athlete dorm rooms [at the Karolyi Ranch] to do whatever treatments he wanted.”
On Friday in court, Jordyn Wieber, an Olympic champion from the 2012 Games, testified about the free rein that Nassar was given by USAG.
“He was the only male allowed to be present in the athlete dorm rooms [at the Karolyi Ranch] to do whatever treatments he wanted. He was allowed to treat us in hotel rooms alone without any supervision. He took photos of us during training and whenever else he wanted. Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of,” Wieber said.
In 2016 — a full year after USA Gymnastics knew about the allegations of abuse at the ranch — former USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny announced that it was purchasing the ranch, calling it the “heart and soul” of USA Gymnastics.
https://t.co/R66DTHaEMe The announcement to purchase the ranch was in 2016. One year after @USAGym admits knowing about abuse at the ranch. Here is what they had to say about the ranch: pic.twitter.com/Bkokx574MJ
— Lynn Raisman (@LynnRaisman) January 18, 2018
Even after USAG reported Nassar to the FBI and severed ties with him in 2015, it did not alert Michigan State University, Twistars, or the public about the allegations against him at any time. In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the organization, USAG says it had “no legal duty” to warn the other organizations about Nassar’s behavior. He continued to work at Michigan State for over a year, and abused dozens of women and girls during that time.
In late 2016, USAG commissioned a report by former federal prosecutor Deborah J. Daniels after an IndyStar investigation revealed that 368 gymnasts in the past 20 years allege abuse at the hands of coaches or authority figures associated with USA Gymnastics. In June 2017, the Daniels Report revealed that USA Gymnastics systematically failed on almost every conceivable level to protect its athletes. It provided recommendations for improvements going forward, but did not focus on adjudicating the past.
Aly Raisman is among the many victims and family members calling for a full independent investigation of USAG’s handling of the allegations against Nassar.
Steve Penny was finally forced out of USAG last spring, but he received a $1 million severance package, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal. The USA Gymnastics board, including Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder, and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley, all defended him staunchly in the days before he resigned.
Victims have called for USA Gymnastics to clean house, and particularly for Parilla to resign as chairman. Additionally, Jessica O’Beirne, the host of the popular gymnastics podcast GymCastic who has been covering this since the beginning, has called for Debbie Van Horn, USAG’s Director of Sports Medicine Services, to step down immediately. Van Horn worked directly beside Nassar as an athletic trainer for two decades, and was supposed to be the other female in the room during Nassar’s treatments. She was recently promoted.
On Monday, January 22, Parilla, Binder, and Kelley all announced their resignation from the board. This came after more than 100 girls and women testified at Nassar’s sentencing hearing.
On Wednesday, January 24, Deadspin reported that Van Horn no longer was employed USAG.
U.S. Olympic Committee
There are a lot of flaws with the way the U.S. Olympic Committee handles sexual abuse allegations, and the USOC has been specifically named in one lawsuit filed last June for participating with USAG in an “orchestrated scheme … to suppress and conceal their knowledge of know sexual abusers in the USAG program, including Dr. Larry Nassar.”
Last month, McKayla Maroney named the USOC as a defendant in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement she signed as part of a settlement with USAG.
According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit says the USOC “had long promoted a culture that concealed known and suspected sex abusers.”
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun responded to the lawsuit with a letter saying that he is “so sorry that the Olympic family failed these athletes” but that the USOC had no prior knowledge of the scope of the allegations against Nassar or the NDA signed by Maroney. He also reportedly reaffirmed the USOC’s commitment to keeping athletes safe.
Maroney’s lawyer, John Manly, was not impressed.
“If you’re the USOC and you’re really committed to this, what you should do is get on the phone to the USA (Gymnastics) board and say you’re out or we’re decertifying you,” Manly said.
Nobody from the USOC showed up to hear testimony from victims at Nassar’s sentencing hearing, and Aly Raisman took notice.
“Why isn’t the U.S. Olympic Committee here now?” she asked. “I’ve represented the U.S. in two Olympics, and both USAG and the USOC have been quick to capitalize on my success. But did they reach out to me when I came forward? No.”
Nobody from the USOC has been punished in any way for Nassar’s crimes, nor have they put pressure on USAG beyond lobbying for Penny’s resignation. They also have not decertified USAG.
On January 26, 2018, the USOC announced that every single member of the USAG’s board had to resign by the end of the month, or the program would be decertified.
John Geddert, owner of Twistars Gymnastics Club
John Geddert — one of the top gymnastics coaches in the country and the head coach of the 2012 London Olympics gymnastics team — was “all but inseparable, professionally and socially” with Nassar for decades, as reported by ESPN Outside the Lines. He is also the owner of the popular Twistars Gymnastics Club in Michigan where Nassar would treat patients. Geddert and Twistars are named in some of the civil suits against Nassar, along with Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics.
According to one lawsuit, a parent expressed concerns about Nassar to Geddert back in 1997, but Geddert did not report those concerns to the police. And ESPN reports that at least once, Geddert walked into the back room of Twistars and saw Nassar penetrating a gymnast with his ungloved fingers. According to a victim’s court testimony, Geddert didn’t stop Nassar, he merely made a joke and left the room.
Geddert is also facing allegations of his own. In 2011 and 2012, he was accused of assault and battery in two separate incidents at Twistars, though he wasn’t charged in either. In court this week, some Nassar’s victims, including Lindsey Lemke, have detailed the way they were physically and verbally abused by Geddert at Twistars.
“He would take girls by the shoulders, squeeze hard enough to leave marks, shake them and yell directly into their face,” Lemke said. “There was specifically one time where he picked up the vault hand mat and hit me with it because I couldn’t get my vault right that day and this was already after I had crashed into the vault hard enough to bruise and bleed.”
Geddert has filed a motion to dismiss the allegations against himself and Twistars, because he says he wasn’t aware of these allegations until after Nassar was arrested, and the statute of limitations has run out on many of the claims. Geddert continues to work as the head coach at Twistars, which is still certified as a National Team Training Center for USA Gymnastics, according to its website.
Geddert was suspended by USAG during the first week of victim statements at Nassar’s hearing in Lansing, and he announced his retirement the following day.
Law enforcement officials were alerted at least three times about Nassar’s behavior.
In 2004, according to a Detroit News investigation, Brianne Randall-Gay, a 16-year-old soccer and tennis player, went to Meridian Township Police Department after telling her friends and mother that Nassar touched her bare breast and put his hand between her legs. The MTPD sent her to Sparrow Hospital for a rape kit, and a few weeks later, police set up a meeting between Nassar and Randall-Gay’s parents. (Randall-Gay was invited, but did not want to attend.)
During that meeting, Nassar said it was a legitimate medical treatment.
“Larry said it was a misunderstanding because I was not a gymnast and not as comfortable with my body and that was where the misunderstanding was,” said Randall-Gay. “The police … just took his word.”
Assistant Police Chief Ken Plaga told Detroit News the department did not alert Michigan State University of the complaint, nor did they forward it to the Ingham County prosecutor. The department is reportedly holding on to Randall-Gay’s police report until Nassar’s sentencing is complete.
In 2014, MSU alum Amanda Thomashow reported Nassar to the Michigan State Police Department (she also told MSU officials, which triggered the 2014 Title IX investigation). A year after the complaint was filed, MSU police forwarded it to the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, which notified Nassar in December 2015 that charges would not be pressed. In total, the police investigation lasted for 19 months; during 16 of those months — after he was cleared from the Title IX investigation in July 2014 — Nassar was allowed to continue to see patients. He allegedly committed at least a dozen assaults after that time.
In 2015, USA Gymnastics officials notified the FBI five weeks after Maggie Nichols’ coach came forward and told them about abuse by Nassar. Nassar parted ways with USAG at the time, but continued to work at MSU. According to ESPN, Nichols wasn’t contacted by the FBI until July 2016; Aly Raisman, another one of the gymnasts who reported Nassar’s abuse in 2015, didn’t speak with the FBI until September 2016.
IndyStar reports that the FBI investigation was first transferred to Michigan, then California, and a formal FBI investigation didn’t launch until nine months after they were first notified. USA Gymnastics says the FBI told them not to discuss the allegations against Nassar because of the ongoing investigation.
In August 2016, Rachael Denhollander contacted MSU police to report abuse by Nassar after an IndyStar investigation into systemic enabling of sexual abuse at USA Gymnastics. The following month, IndyStar published its first investigation into Nassar’s abuse. Days after that report was made public, MSU suspended and then fired Nassar.
Nassar was arrested by MSU police on November 21, 2016, three months after Dellonhander filed her report. He was allowed to be free on a $1 million bond, but the FBI arrested and detained Nassar in December 2016, after investigators found at least 37,000 images and videos of child pornography on Nassar’s home computer.