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Larry Nassar

Kate Wells

The courtroom was ready for an intense day: this is, after all, a case in which the defendant has been accused of sexual assault by not just the seven women and girls in this particular hearing, but by more than 80 complainants thus far, according to the Michigan State Police.

It was just the first of what may well be three days of testimony, as 55th District Court Judge Donald Allen weighs whether there’s enough evidence against Dr. Larry Nassar, former MSU sports doctor and  Olympic gymnastics team physician, to go to trial in this case.

DREW, COOPER & ANDING / YOUTUBE VIDEO

Today, seven women and girls are expected to testify against a doctor they say sexually abused them.

They are some of more than 100 women and girls who’ve alleged Dr. Larry Nassar abused them while they were in gymnastic programs at Michigan State University (MSU) or USA Gymnastics (USAG). Nassar was the team physician for both.

(To see how the allegations against Dr. Larry Nassar unfolded, click here.)

Complaints against Larry Nassar range from the late 1990s up to 2016.
From one of Nassar's YouTube videos

Dr. Larry Nassar, a former athletic doctor at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, is accused of assaulting a young girl under the age of 13 in his home. He has been ordered to stand trial. If convicted, Nassar faces up to life in prison.

Judge's gavel
Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Rachael Denhollander will be the first to take the stand at 9 am on Friday, according to her attorney. It's the first day of preliminary hearings in a case involving her and 6 other alleged victims, who claim they were abused by Dr. Larry Nassar. 

“Yeah, I’m really not looking forward to it, to be honest,” Denhollander says. The mom of three is at home on the phone, while her husband’s in the background wrangling their 2-year-old (whose molars are coming in painfully and loudly.)

Drew, Cooper & Anding / YouTube Video

Since Rachael Denhollander went public with her accusations against former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar in September, more than 80 women and girls have come forward with similar complaints.

Seven of the women and girls who say they were sexually abused by a former sports doctor will begin testifying against him next week.

Screen grab from ONE OF NASSAR'S YOUTUBE VIDEOS

More than 100 women and girls claim they were sexually assaulted by former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

Complaints against the former MSU sports doctor range from the late 1990s up to 2016.

Larissa Boyce's scrapbook photos from the MSU Spartan youth gymnastics program
Courtsey of Larissa Boyce

What happens when a child reports sexual abuse, but adults don’t believe them?

Gymanst Jamie Dantzscher
Courtesy of Jamie Dantzscher

Four more former patients are suing former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar for sexual abuse, including a 14-year-old dancer.

Meanwhile, an Ingham County judge recently issued a revised gag order that bars witnesses named in one of Dr. Nassar's criminal trials from speaking publicly. 

There are now more than 80 other women and girls who claim the former MSU doctor abused them under the guise of "treatment."

Flickr Creative Commons

Four more former patients, including a 14-year-old dancer, are suing former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar for sexual abuse.

They join more than 80 other women and girls who claim Nassar abused them under the guise of treatment.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, one woman says Nassar abused her around 1992 to 1993, when he was still in medical school at MSU. A spokesman for MSU confirmed Nassar graduated in 1993.

Michigan Attorney General's office

A judge in the criminal sex abuse case against former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar has issued a new order to prohibit attorneys and witnesses from speaking publicly about the case.

The judge says it's necessary to prevent a "carnival atmosphere" and an unfair trial for Nassar.

Nassar is accused of sexually abusing girls he was treating.

Nassar also faces civil lawsuits filed by  more than 80 other women who say he sexually abused them.

Attorneys for those women say the gag order also applies to them, and is unconstitutional.

Alberto Ortiz/Flicker

They're stunned, confused and outraged.

"I'm not a lawyer and have only a very basic understanding of our legal system,” says former Olympic gymnast Jamie Dantzscher, in an affidavit filed in federal court Tuesday. 

Brian Turner / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Lawyers for dozens of women who say they were sexually assaulted by a MSU sports doctor are trying to overturn a judge's gag order.

They asked a federal judge to intervene Tuesday and strike an order that bars attorneys and Larry Nassar's alleged victims from talking publicly. Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina is overseeing a criminal case against Nassar and says his rights could be violated if the public is repeatedly served with negative comments about him.

Forty-four years ago, in another early spring, a young lawyer went to the President of the United States and told him, “There's no doubt about the seriousness of the problem we've got. We have a cancer within -- close to the presidency, that's growing. It's growing daily. It's compounding. It grows geometrically now, because it compounds itself.”

A courtroom
Bill Ledbetter / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Here’s the big question: Did a judge just block 80-plus women and girls from talking about their sexual assault allegations against former Olympic gymnastics and MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar?

Or does today’s order to “limit public disclosure” just mean that attorneys with civil suits against Nassar can’t call him a pedophile on Facebook?

Depends who you ask. And even some of the lawyers mentioned in this brief say they don’t totally understand how to interpret the order.

Nassar’s defense: We can’t get a fair trial without judge’s help

Dr. Larry Nassar
Michigan Attorney General's office

Dr. Larry Nassar has been found responsible for sexual assault, for the first time since this scandal erupted in the fall. 

Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Records show a Michigan State University doctor resigned in January after learning the school was considering her termination because she didn't disclose that USA Gymnastics was investigating Dr. Larry Nassar.

James Thomas/flickr creative commons

Katie Payne lives in California now. She and her sister, Maureen Payne Baum, grew up in the Detroit area.

Their mom still lives there. And a few months ago, their mom was driving to work, listening to news on the radio, when a story came on. A US Olympic gymnastics and Michigan State University sports doctor was being accused of sexual abuse.

It was just 4 a.m. in California. But Payne’s mom called her anyway.

Flickr Creative Commons

Professor John Kerr wants to be really clear: It's not that he thinks MSU police aren't doing a great job, or that the administration has anything to hide in its effort to investigate Dr. Larry Nassar, a former professor and sports physician at the school.

It's just that Kerr, and at least another 150 faculty members at Michigan State University who signed a letter detailing their concerns, are worried it looks bad if the university essentially investigates itself in a massive criminal sexual abuse case.

Michigan Attorney General's office

A former sports medicine doctor for Michigan State University and the U.S. Olympics gymnastics team faces another 22 felony charges of sexually assaulting his patients.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the new charges today. He says five of the charges are related to victims who were younger than 13 years old.

“I cannot imagine the heartbreak, and the anger, and the heartache experienced by parents who took their child to a physician, seeking help, who then sexually assaulted their daughter,” Schuette said.

MSU President Lou Anna Simon / File photo / MSU

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon says a pair of sexual assault investigations are not signs of larger issues within the athletic department. 

She says sexual assault will not be tolerated, but added it’s not unique to MSU.

“To make it an MSU problem in the reporting, from my perspective, and not a society problem that also happens to be at MSU, it does a disservice to the university,” Simon said.  

MSU staff allegedly told the gymnastics team not to cooperate with authorities investigating sexual assault allegations against Dr. Larry Nassar
Flickr/Betsy Weber

Members of the MSU women's gymnastics team were told to say "no comment" to any reporters or police asking about sexual abuse allegations against the team physician, Dr. Larry Nassar.

That’s according to a lawsuit (which you can read here) filed by a scholarship student on the team, who also says she was repeatedly assaulted by Nassar as a child.

A team meeting in September 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

At a meeting with Detroit parents and school administrators earlier this week, one of the governor's advisors told the crowd "there's no way in the world" the state will close 38 failing schools this year.

Lawsuits against the university claim students started reporting abuse as early as 1999.
user John M. Quick / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

After 27 years on the job, Kathie Klages is resigning as head coach of women’s gymnastics at MSU. She denies any knowledge about Dr. Larry Nassar’s alleged years-long, repeated sexual abuse of MSU gymnasts.

Two women have filed court documents claiming they told Klages about Nassar’s alleged assaults back in the 1990s. He wasn’t fired from MSU until earlier this past fall.  

Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

The story broke last September in the Indianapolis Star. Complaints surfaced that a Michigan State University sports physician has been sexually assaulting young gymnasts for nearly 20 years.

To date, more than 60 women and girls have stepped forward to tell police they were sexually assaulted by Dr Larry Nassar.
 

More than 30 have filed civil lawsuits against Michigan State and Dr. Nassar, who is currently in the Ingham County Jail facing federal and state charges of sexual assault and child pornography.

Lansing-area attorney Jamie White represents ten of Dr. Nassar's alleged victims, including a current scholarship member of the MSU women's gynmastics team.

Michigan Attorney General's office

A second former athlete says she told MSU’s Coach Kathie Klages some 20 years ago that Dr. Larry Nassar was sexually abusing her. In court documents filed today, the woman claims Coach Klages told her there was "no reason to bring up Nassar’s conduct."

Michigan State University suspended Coach Klages yesterday after 27 years on the job, though a University spokesman did not say why.

Reached Tuesday, Klages' attorney, Shirlee Bobrik, says she'll be issuing a written statement shortly.  

Michigan State University suspended women’s gymnastics Head Coach Kathie Klages on Monday, after 27 years on the job.

A university spokesperson said he couldn’t immediately comment about the reason for the suspension.

Lawsuits against the university claim students started reporting abuse as early as 1999.
user John M. Quick / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In 1999, an MSU student athlete says she told her head coach and trainers that Dr. Larry Nassar, then a sports doctor at the school and an Olympics gymnastics physician, “touched her vaginal area although she was seeking treatment for an injured hamstring.”

Michigan Attorney General's office

Eighteen alleged victims are suing former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and his former employer, Michigan State University.

The accusers are current and former athletes who sought treatment from Dr. Nassar, but instead, they say, they were repeatedly molested, with Dr. Nassar groping them and, in some cases, digitally penetrating them.  

Nassar was also a sports medicine professor at MSU until the school fired him in September.

One of the accusers, Rachael Denhollander, says the university failed them in its previous investigations into abuse.

Michigan Attorney General's office

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?

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