The first abuse accusation goes back to 1994, but it is reasonably likely that Dr. Larry Nassar’s crimes extend even further into the past. As the number of victims increases on a seemingly daily basis, now reaching nearly 250 cases, determining precisely when he first began to prey on young women seeking treatment could prove impossible.
Dr. Nassar sought out jobs that put him in positions of power over young female athletes, first as an Athletic Trainer with the American Olympic Team, then as a trainer for Twistars gymnastics, and then at Michigan State University, where he acted as team doctor for the Spartans for nearly twenty years beginning in 1997. From there, he was able to rise higher and higher in the ranks of US gymnastics, ultimately securing a role at the isolated Karolyi ranch, where many young women were routinely injured training for Olympic glory. Dr. Nassar saw these injures as an opportunity to touch these young women inappropriately.
Though Dr. Nassar is ultimately responsible for his actions and will spend the rest of his life in prison for what he did, this is also a story of the failure of institutions. Parents put trust in both US gymnastics and at Michigan State University to protect their children. And despite red flags along the way, including accusations of sexual impropriety under the guise of medical treatment, both the college and the US Olympic Committee allowed Dr. Nassar to continue to see patients. Some reports indicate dozens of university staff ignored reports of abuse.
A story this big draws national attention, but all over the country schools are allowing predators access to vulnerable students. If your child has been the victim of physical, psychological, or sexual abuse by a teacher or other authority figure, please retain an experienced attorney to help guide you through the process of holding the institution responsible for its failings.