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MSU, USA gymnastics doctor charged with child porn

Dec 19, 2016

Dr. Larry Nassar has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly possessing “thousands of images of child pornography” dating back to 2003. If he’s convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s office says.

The indictment itself is for two counts of receiving and attempting to receive child porn, and lists several sexually descriptive files.  Dr. Nassar allegedly received “images that involved a minor who had not attained 12 years of age,” according to the federal indictment.

Who is Dr. Larry Nassar?

Dr. Nassar was the medical director for the U.S. Gymnastics team and an associate professor at Michigan State University, where he was the team physician for the women’s gymnastics and crew teams. The University fired him a few months ago in the wake of allegations that he sexually abused several patients.

He also worked at Gedderts' Twistars USA Gymnastics Club, which offers training for kids “12 months to 18 years,” according to its website. The club did not immediately return a request for comment.  

The tipping point came in September, when the Indianapolis Star published in-depth, personal interviews with two elite gymnasts who said Dr. Nassar repeatedly penetrated and groped them during medical appointments. Since then, dozens of other complainants have come forward to the newspaper and police.

What criminal and civil charges is he facing?

Last month, Michigan’s Attorney General charged Dr. Nassar with three counts of criminal sexual conduct, involving the abuse of a child under the age of 13.  

“The alleged victim was not a patient or gymnast in Nassar’s care,” the Attorney General's office says.

This case was reported to Michigan State University police back in September, whose investigation “revealed evidence that allegedly showed Nassar had sexually abused the victim … at his home over a period of several years,” according to the Attorney General’s office.

Meanwhile, one alleged victim has filed a civil complaint against Nassar. Her attorney says she was a 14-year-old gymnast who regularly went to see Dr. Nassar for lower back pain in 1996 and 1997.

“The doctor’s so-called ‘treatments’ included digital penetration that would last up to an hour a visit,” her attorney says in a press release.

On the child pornography charges, Dr. Nassar’s arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday. Messages left for two attorneys believed to be representing Dr. Nassar were not immediately returned.

The Michigan Attorney General's office says its investigation into Dr. Nassar is still ongoing.