In a lawsuit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, a former member of the United States gymnastics team alleged that Marta and Bela Karolyi (legendary USA Gymnastics coaches) and others helped create a “regime of intimidation” and abuse that allowed Dr. Larry Nassar to sexually abuse a series of young gymnasts. This new suit is one of several that have been filed against Nassar, and it echoes many claims made in earlier lawsuits, while also alleging a range of damning instances of negligence and abuse from other members of USA Gymnastics’ hierarchy. The Indianapolis Star first reported on the suit.
The lawsuit names Nassar, Marta and Bela Karolyi, USA Gymnastics, and a slew a former USAG executives as defendants. The plaintiff is an unnamed former national team member who was on the senior team for half a decade in the 2000s. Nassar has been accused of sexual abuse by over 20 gymnasts and has left his posts at USAG and Michigan State, although he has not faced criminal charges. Jane Doe alleges that the Karolyis were abusive in their own right, physically and emotionally tormenting young gymnasts on a routine basis, and that their own transgressions created a climate where Nassar knew he could get away with his abuses.
She also says that other USAG officials knew about Nassar, but they failed to take action as a way to cover their own asses. Nassar used the Karolyis repression and abuse as a way to ingratiate himself to the children and then sexually abuse them.
“As we have made clear, when USA Gymnastics first learned of athlete concerns regarding Dr. Nassar, we dismissed him from further involvement and reported those concerns to the FBI,” the organization said. “Still, the allegations that have been made are troubling. USA Gymnastics is committed to promoting a safe environment for our athletes. Due to the pending litigation and ongoing investigation, however, we are unable to comment further.”
The full lawsuit is below.