Former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison last week for 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Nassar was the only person sentenced, but dozens of other people have been accused of helping him perpetrate decades of child sexual abuse by downplaying accusations, ignoring victims, or otherwise failing in their due diligence to protect vulnerable young women from a predator. Many of those people, like the child protective services officers that Kyle Stephens says she alerted, are not named in lawsuits, testimony, and news reports. But plenty of others are.
Michigan State can never bury its role in the largest sex abuse scandal in sports history. Some people responsible for it are already gone:
- Then-head gymnastics coach Kathie Klages, who reportedly learned of the abuse in 1997. One victim recalls Klages telling her that she was “misunderstanding what was going on” with Nassar’s abuse. Klages retired in February.
- Athletic director Mark Hollis, who said he had never met Nassar and didn’t know about any abuse, resigned last week.
- President Lou Anna Simon, who said she was informed of the police report and Title IX investigation into one of the school’s doctors in 2014, but had no idea who it was, resigned last week.
- Dr. William Strampel, former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Nassar’s former boss at Michigan State, who allowed Nassar to return to his work with athletes in 2014 while there was an open criminal investigation against him, stepped down last month for “medical reasons.”
- Track and field assistant coach Kelli Bert, who was reportedly told about the abuse in 1999, was only at the school for one year.
- MSU clinical psychologist Dr. Gary Stollak, who was reportedly told about the abuse by Kyle Stephens in the mid-2000s, said he doesn’t remember any details and retired in 2010.
- MSU medical manipulation specialist Dr. Brooke Lemmen, who Strampel accused of knowing about USA Gymnastics’ investigation of Nassar in 2015, resigned in 2017 when threatened with termination.
Others are still there. The following are people who were made aware of Nassar’s abuse and still work at Michigan State, according to reporting by the Detroit News.
- Then softball trainer Lianna Hadden was reportedly told about Nassar’s abuse on two separate occasions, by two different women, once in 2000 and once in 2002. She is now an MSU athletic trainer working with the volleyball team.
- MSU gymnastics trainer Destiny Teachnor-Hauk was allegedly told about the abuse in 2000. She’s accused of telling a victim that filing a report would “cast a burden over [her] family.” She is still in charge of women’s gymnastics.
- Dr. Lisa DeStefano, a former MSU medical manipulation specialist, is accused of knowing about Nassar’s methods of abuse and deeming them to be medically appropriate treatment. She is now the faculty department chair of MSU’s College of Osteopathic medicine.
- Dr. Jennifer Gilmore, a former MSU medical manipulation specialist, is also accused of knowing about Nassar’s abuse and characterizing it as medically appropriate. She is now an assistant professor.
In June of 2017, an independent review into USA Gymnastics’ handling of allegations of abuse concluded that the organization needed a complete overhaul of both personnel and policies. Former USAG CEO Steve Penny retired last March amid multiplying reports of sexual abuse by Nassar, and three high-ranking board members resigned last week:
- Chairman Paul Parilla
- Vice Chairman Jay Binder
- Treasurer Bitsy Kelley
Last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee called for the rest of the board members to resign, and they stepped down over the weekend:
- Kelli Hill
- Tom Koll
- Mike Burns
- Yoichi Tomita
- Natalia Kozitskaya
- Patti Conner
- Carisa Laughon
- Casey Koenig
- Kathy Krebs
- Rome Milan
- Ava Gehringer
- Dylan Maurer
- Austin White
- David Benck
Board members Ivana Hong, Kevin Martinez, Steve Legendre, Cathy Rigby also resigned, though they joined the board after news of the Nassar sex abuse scandal broke.
Though the USOC has been taking credit for the resignation of the USAG board, the people atop that organization also stand accused of failing Nassar’s victims. In the summer of 2015, USA Gymnastics told the USOC that its gymnasts were being abused, and even though Nassar was allowed to “retire” in September 2015, the USOC said it followed “proper procedures,” according to the New York Times. More than a decade before that, in 1999, USA Gymnastics sent a letter of complaint to the USOC about their poor handling of predatory coaches, showing that the governing body was well and long aware of the problem of sexual abuse of Olympic athletes, according to the Washington Post.
No one from the Olympic committee came to the sentencing hearing to listen to the women’s victim impact statements. As Aly Raisman said in court, “For this sport to go on, we need to demand real change, and we need to be willing to fight for it. It’s clear now that if we leave it up to these organizations, history is likely to repeat itself.” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun even said in an open letter that the USOC “failed” its gymnasts. Still, no one has resigned.
- USOC CEO Scott Blackmun
- Board member Larry Probst
- Board member Anita L. DeFrantz
- Board member Angela Ruggiero
- Board member Robert Bach
- Board member James Benson
- Board member Cheri Blauwet
- Board member Daniel Doctoroff
- Board member Nina Kemppel
- Board member Susanne Lyons
- Board member Bill Marolt
- Board member Steve Mesler
- Board member Dave Ogrean
- Board member Whitney Ping
- Board member Kevin White
- Board member Robert L. Wood
- John Geddert, the owner of Twistars, a prominent club within competitive gymnastics that allowed Nassar to treat gymnasts, resigned last week. He has also been accused of abusing and mistreating gymnasts.
- Bela and Marta Karolyi, legendary gymnastics coaches whose remote Texas ranch created an unhealthy environment and allowed Nassar’s abuse to flourish. USA Gymnastics no longer sends gymnasts to the ranch and the Karolyis are being sued by a former gymnast who was abused by Nassar at the ranch.
- In 2004 one of Nassar’s victims, Brianne Randall, told four investigators with the Meridian Township police that she was abused by Nassar. Dave Hall, who was the acting police chief at the time, has admitted that police declined to bring Randall’s accusations against Nassar to the prosecutor.
- In 2014, there was a different police report filed with Michigan State police about Nassar’s sexual abuse during medical treatment. The case was referred to the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor, Stuart Dunnings, who resigned in March 2016 after he was caught hiring prostitutes, declined to press charges.
- MSU Detective Kelly Johnson told Nassar in December 2015 that the prosecutor wasn’t pressing charges, but reminded him to have a chaperone in the room and to explain his procedures, the Detroit News reported.
Then there are the people who didn’t technically enable Nassar, but who would seem to prefer that all abuse allegations just went away quietly. There’s MSU trustee Joel Ferguson, who thinks the sex abuse scandal is just a pesky impediment to fundraising. There’s MSU football coach Mark Dantonio, who called the allegations that his football program mishandled reports of sexual assault by football players “completely false,” and MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo, who called the scandals swirling around his own team a “distraction.” And there’s Fox Sports, who struck a 15-year, $150 million TV rights deal with MSU last March and then completely ignored the Nassar sex abuse scandal. Nassar will spend the rest of his life in prison; no one can enable him anymore. But the power structures that created an environment in which Nassar was able to prey on young girls are as entrenched as ever.