Today, the state of Michigan filed a slew of criminal charges spread across two counties against disgraced former gymnastics doctor* Larry Nassar, saying he sexually abused nine gymnasts when they came to him for treatment. In the affidavits for the charges, investigators outline how multiple gymnasts said Nassar would penetrate their vaginas with his fingers for extended periods of time under the guise of giving them medical treatment, like a massage. One victim told authorities the assaults started when she was 10 years old; another said she was assaulted by Nassar “more times than she could count,” according to one affidavit. A third victim said in a second affidavit that she believed that Nassar “twisted treatment into having parents watch their children get molested.”
Between the two affidavits released today, police and state prosecutors say they have heard from 81 people who say they were victims of Nassar. The charges filed today—including 22 counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham and Eaton counties—are based on what happened with nine victims. In the Ingham cases, the affidavit says that all the victims were sexually abused by Nassar “while he treated them at either the MSU Sports medicine clinic office or after-hours at his home in Holt, Michigan.” In the Eaton cases, the affidavit says the victims were abused by Nassar while they were gymnasts at Twistars Gymnastics Club in Dimondale, Mich. These are the first criminal charges directly related to Nassar’s role as a doctor, according to the Lansing State Journal.
The allegations, as described by law enforcement, are consistent: Nassar, the accusers say, did not ask for consent, did not tell the victims what he was about to do, and did not wear gloves. In some cases a parent was present, but according to the affidavits, Nassar would position them so the parents couldn’t see what was happening, or used a sheet to cover up that part of a gymnast’s body. One victim said that every time her mother stood up to see what Nassar was doing, he would stop.
Of the nine alleged victims, six were assaulted in Ingham County. The first victim, called Victim A, said Nassar began assaulting her when she was 10; Nassar was supposed to readjust her ribs when, while pressing on her back, he pulled up her leotard and touched her vagina, putting his bare hand and fingers “between the flaps” of her vagina, according to the affidavit. The victim told investigators she felt “grossed out.” He assaulted her again, at age 11, at Michigan State. While giving her a foot massage, he put his fingers in her vagina and “was touching really hard on her clitoris,” according to the affidavit. The victim said Nassar was “really sweaty and into it.” Beforehand, Nassar told the girl’s father that the massage would “take time” and asked a Michigan State student to leave the room.
Another victim said Nassar would put his fingers in her vagina and anus while massaging her at the Michigan State office at the end of the day, with no one else in the office. The victim, who was younger than 13 at the time, told police that Nassar gave her a Michigan State leotard. She believed it was because Nassar “felt guilty,” the affidavit said.
In a third case, the victim said she was 15 when Nassar told her she needed “myofascial release and osepathic sports massage.” What followed was him putting two fingers in her vagina. He vaginally penetrated her three more times, once lasting up to 40 minutes. One time, he also anally penetrated her and rubbed her breasts.
Toward the end of the session, Nassar removed her bra. He then cupped her exposed breast and nipple. Victim C stated that she noticed Nassar’s visible erection protruding from his pants. Victim C stated Nassar was breathing heavily and his face was flushed. Victim C said, “there was absolutely no therapy going on at that moment”. Victim C reported Nassar often commented on her physical appearance and clothing. Nassar would hug and touch her.
In the fourth case, he put his hands inside a 13-year-old gymnast’s vagina while she saw him for her injuries. In a fifth, the victim was 14 or 15 when he penetrated her vagina for “more than 10 minutes” while telling her he was performing “myofascial release” on her. In another, a victim said she was vaginally penetrated by Nassar during most of her appointments for back pain treatment at her home and also during several appointments at his office. He told her the penetration was a “medical thing,” according to the affidavit, and there was “supported medical research” on it.
In the seventh Ingham County case, Nassar told the victim that he was going to do an “Australian technique” before putting his fingers in her vagina, per the affidavit. The treatments continued, reaching up to 45 minutes with him also touching her breasts.
Victim F stated that when her mother was in the room, Nassar covered her with a sheet. If her mother stood up to see what was happening, Nassar stopped penetrating her. Victim F stated that the penetration became more aggressive and invasive over time. During her appointments, she would grit her teeth to prevent from yelping in pain. Nassar would anally and vaginally penetrate her for approximately 45 minutes. Nassar would also touch her breasts. Victim F stated that at times, Nassar would have one hand in her vagina with the other on her breast.
.... Nassar would not vaginally penetrate her if she was on her period. Victim F also saw Nassar with a noticeable erection. During one appointment, he told her to shave her pubic hair. On another occasion, while penetrating her, he talked about “fingering his ex-girlfriend in the same way.” On her last appointment, Nassar told Victim F that she was so flexible inside her vagina, he could put his whole hand in there.
... Victim F believes Nassar twisted treatment into having parents watch their children get molested
The Eaton affidavit repeats the account of Victim A from Ingham as well as discussing what happened with two more victims. In one case, the victim said she was a longtime gymnast at Geddert’s Twistar gym and was assaulted by Nassar “more times than she could count.” She started seeing him at age 10 or 11; his assaults became more frequent after she had a broken lumbar at age 15. The assaults would happen in the backroom of the gym, with a blanket over her, she told investigators. The assaults grew longer over time, with Nassar eventually using two fingers to penetrate her vagina and one to penetrate her rectum. She said Nassar would ask her if they made her feel better, and she said “yes” just to get him to stop, according to the affidavit.
Another victim said she was 15 when she had a compression fracture in the middle of her spine, the affidavit says. While treating her for this injury at Twistars, Nassar penetrated her vagina with her fingers. He would also massage inside and around her genitals. At times, other people would be in the room but, according to the affidavit, Nassar positioned her body in a way “to hide the penetration.”
“He was like a god to the gymnasts”
Several victims said they did not come forward to police until after they read an Indianapolis Star article in which two former gymnasts said Nassar had sexually abused them. Several victims talked about why, until then, they said hadn’t said anything to their parents or the authorities.
Victim A stated that Nassar followed her and other gymnasts on social media. Victim A stated she and the other gymnasts would talk about Nassar. They would discuss how he was “touchy.” At the time, Victim A did not question Nassar because he was doing the same to other gymnasts she knew. Victim A stated that because she was so young, she really didn’t know anything was wrong.
In another case, the victim said she told her mother was happened only after the allegations became public; she had considered Nassar “an authority figure.” Victim F said that “she trusted Nassar and the two became friends.” Victim G said “all the gymnasts trusted Nassar, and therefore, she did not tell her parents.” Another victim said “it was common knowledge” that Nassar was assaulting gymnasts but “no one questioned Nassar because of his position and reputation.”
In Eaton County, Victim B described the pressure on them to stay in shape as well as how Nassar was “like a god” to them.
Victim B stated that as a competitive gymnast, you would do anything to get yourself better and that the coaches were always pressuring them to get better. She said it was like you were always in trouble if you were hurt. At the time, she thought she had to submit to this treatment to get better and never told her parents because she had to get better. Victim B stated that she and all the gymnasts trusted Nassar and that he was like a god to the gymnasts. Nassar tried to connect with the gymnasts and they could talk to him when their coaches were being mean. At the time it was occurring, Victim B and a few of her teammates began talking about their experiences with Nassar and they realized they were all being penetrated by him during their appointments. Because it was happening to all of them, they thought it was normal.
Because the cases are in two different courts, Nassar has two arraignment dates coming up. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday at 10 a.m. in one court and then via video at 1 p.m. in the second. Anyone who might be a victim or have information about Nassar is asked to call investigators in Michigan at 844-99-MSUPD.
The full affidavits filed in the Nassar cases are below.