Michigan State fires doctor accused of sexual abuse by gymnasts
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A doctor accused of sexually abusing two gymnasts was fired Tuesday by Michigan State University, which said its police have received additional allegations of abuse since last week.
Two gymnasts, including a 2000 U.S. Olympic women’s team bronze medalist, have said they were sexually abused as teenagers by Larry Nassar, a former longtime doctor for USA Gymnastics. Those allegations came to light last week in a report by the Indianapolis Star newspaper.
Michigan State, where Nassar was a faculty member, said last week that he was investigated in 2014 over another allegation of misconduct, but the school found no violation of its policy. School spokesman Jason Cody said Tuesday that since last week, university police have received more allegations of abuse by Nassar, spanning decades.
Cody said Michigan State authorities are devoting significant resources to reviewing these accusations.
Michigan State reassigned Nassar from clinical and patient duties as of Aug. 30, a day after a complaint from one of the gymnasts was made to authorities.
“Over the past week, the university received additional information that raised serious concerns about Nassar’s compliance with certain employment requirements,” Cody said in a statement Tuesday. “Those requirements were put in place after a 2014 investigation into alleged misconduct by Nassar, and information was received that indicates those requirements were not consistently met.”
Cody did not provide additional detail about what new requirements Nassar faced after the 2014 investigation.
“The decision was made to initiate the faculty process to terminate Nassar’s fixed-term appointment. On Sept. 20, he was fired,” Cody’s statement said. “It is important to note this decision does not affect the ongoing investigations by MSU Police and MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity of allegations of sexual abuse.”
An attorney for Nassar declined to comment Tuesday.
Nassar is accused of sexually groping and fondling an Olympic gymnast during her elite career, according to a lawsuit filed recently in California by the athlete under the name Jane Doe.
Attorney John Manly, who is representing Jane Doe in the lawsuit, said he has been approached by 10 female athletes treated by Nassar, including gymnasts and athletes from other disciplines, since her lawsuit was filed. Manly said the accusers range in age from their teens to 40 and include former NCAA athletes among others. Manly said he anticipates other cases being filed, predicting that Jane Doe’s lawsuit is “certainly not the last.”
The second gymnast, Rachael Denhollander of Louisville, Kentucky, told the Indianapolis Star that Nassar sexually abused her in 2000 while she underwent treatment for lower back pain at Michigan State. She said she filed a complaint last month with university police.
The Associated Press typically does not identify people who say they have been sexually abused, but Denhollander is speaking out publicly about the case.
Michigan State said last week that Nassar was investigated in 2014 when a graduate of the school filed a complaint. An administrative investigation found no violation of school policy, and the local prosecutor’s office did not file charges after an investigation by MSU police.
USA Gymnastics said last week that it cut ties with Nassar when the organization’s president, Steve Penny, went to authorities immediately after learning of athlete concerns about Nassar in the summer of 2015.