A Michigan judge ruled Friday that Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor facing dozens of allegations of sexual assault from former patients spanning the past two decades, will stand trial for 12 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
The charges stem from reports of sexual assault made by six former female patients—initially, Nassar was facing 15 charges of first-degree criminal sexual assault, according to MLive, but three charges tied to a seventh alleged victim, Victim F, were dismissed without prejudice by the judge Friday morning. No details were given as to why the charges were dropped. Four of the remaining charges are for victims that were younger than 13 years old at the time of the alleged assault; the other eight victims were between 13 and 15.
Friday also marked Nassar’s first appearance on the record in the preliminary hearings, as the prosecution entered a 40-minute video interview he gave a Michigan State police detective last August. In it, Nassar claimed to have constantly communicated with his patients about his procedures, said he’d performed the intravaginal method thousands of times, and provided a sickening response when asked to explain multiple reports of him becoming aroused during patient visits.
“I can’t explain that - when I’m working, I’m working.” Later in the interview, he became visibly flustered when asked about the allegation again.
“If there was an arousal, it would be because...when you’re a guy, sometimes you get an erection,” he said. “I don’t understand why I’d have an erection while I’m doing a treatment. That’s really embarrassing.”
“I’m focused on the treatment, I’m not trying to get any type of sexual pleasure out of it,” he said during the interview. “No, I don’t get sexual pleasure out of working with a patient.”
The judge scheduled the preliminary examination for June 30. The case is one of four Nassar is currently facing regarding sexual misconduct and abuse. He is slated to appear in court next Friday in relation to assault charges being brought by two other gymnasts. Nassar is also awaiting a second scheduled trial that will determine whether he is guilty of harboring thousands of files of child pornography on his laptop; that trial is slated to begin Aug. 14.