Former USA Gymnastics, Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar expected in court Friday
18 women file suit against Dr. Larry Nassar and Michigan St.
16 more athletes allege sex abuse by former USA Gym Doctor
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WTHR) - The doctor who once treated America's top gymnasts will be in court Friday to determine whether he will stand trial in his sexual assault case.
Dr. Larry Nassar is accused of assaulting a girl from the age of 6 until the girl was 12 at his home in Holt, Mich. He's pleaded not guilty.
The allegations don't involve an athlete, but Nassar is being sued by dozens of women and girls who say they were assaulted while getting treatment for sports injuries over a roughly 20 year period. Police are still investigating those claims.
These charges are separate from federal charges of child pornography and deleting computer files.
Just last week, Nassar was indicted on the charges of deleting files.
Prosecutors had previously said they found at least 37,000 pornographic images on computer equipment they seized from Nassar, including drives they found in a trash bin still sitting outside his house because garbage collection that day was late.
Nassar's attorneys did not respond to a request for comment on the new charge. He has pleaded not guilty.
Nassar, who also worked as a doctor for USA Gymnastics, was arrested on child sex abuse charges last November. He was charged with three counts of criminal sexual misconduct and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison in connection with those cases.
As many as 18 alleged victims have filed lawsuits against Nassar. The lawsuits allege sexual assault, battery, molestation and harassment of 16 female athletes while under Nassar's care from 1996 to 2015. The lawsuits allege that Dr. Nassar digitally penetrated the victims without proper notice, gloves, lubricant or chaperones under the guise of providing medical care and treatment at Michigan State University.
"I was a patient of Larry Nassar in 2000 and, at age 15, was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Dr. Nassar under the guise of medical examinations and medical treatment. It was evident during these treatments that this was a procedure he used regularly and confidently. As a resident of Michigan and a member of the gymnastics community, I was acutely aware of the level of prominence Dr. Larry Nassar occupied in the medical, academic, and athletic spheres, and was confident that neither MSU nor USAG could be ignorant of the methods of alleged treatment he used so routinely. I am grieved to know now how misplaced that belief in both USAG and MSU was," said plaintiff Rachael Denhollander.
The lawsuits allege that the victims ranged in age from 9 to 29 at the time of their alleged abuse. They participated in a wide range of sports including gymnastics, softball, basketball, soccer, figure skating and swimming. According to the complaint, Dr. Nassar treated hip, leg, back, and ankle injuries with his "inter-vaginal adjustments."
Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, and Twistars were named as defendants in addition to Dr. Nassar.
"Reliving this on a national scale with an audience has been excruciatingly painful. But there is one motivator that is stronger than fear. And that is love. Love for every young woman that could have walked through his door if i did not take the chance to speak up," said Denhollander.
In November 2016, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged Nassar with three counts of first degree criminal sexual assault with a person under 13. The charges allege that Nassar repeatedly assaulted a girl between 1998 and 2005, beginning when she was six years old.
Nassar also faces charges in connection with child pornography possession. FBI investigators found at least 37,000 images and videos of child pornography in his garbage. According to published reports, some videos show the doctor sexually assaulting girls under the age of 12.
Around 50 gymnasts and patients of Nassar have filed sex abuse complaints against him, NBC News reported in November 2016. Those cases are still under investigation.