USA Gymnastics Doc Sued for Sexual Abuse by 18 Women

GymnastEighteen young women have come forward and filed a federal civil lawsuit against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar for sexual assault during physical examinations.

The sexual assaults began in the 1990’s and lasted until 2016. In addition to the civil sexual abuse lawsuits, Nassar faces criminal charges including sexual assault with a person under 13 and possession of child pornography.

The women sued USA Gymnastics as a defendant in the lawsuit along with Dr. Nassar, who was affiliated with the USA Gymnastics from 1996 until 2015. Nassar was the team doctor for the Michigan State University gymnastics and women’s crew teams, an associate professor in MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, and a physician for the US national gymnastics team at four Olympic Games.

The other defendants in the sex abuse lawsuits include Michigan State University and Twistars USA, a Michigan gymnastics facility where Nassar also worked.

The sex abuse lawsuit alleges that USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, and Twistars USA were negligent in not firing Nassar after they all received complaints from at least three young girls that Nassar had abused them.

In 2014, Michigan State University did not believe one of the complaints against Nassar, apparently believing the victim who made the complaint simply didn’t understand the difference between sexual assault and a medical examination. Eventually, the university fired Nassar last fall after complaints continued. Since that time, the university has received more than 80 complaints of Nassar’s sexual abuse. Nassar was arrested on sexual assault charges last November and indicted on federal charges of possessing child pornography in December.

Seventeen of the 18 women who filed civil lawsuits have chosen to remain anonymous. Courts almost always allow victims of sexual abuse and assault to file civil lawsuits using assumed names, like Jane Doe. One young woman chose to bring her case using her real name. This woman, Rachael Denhollander, says she was assaulted by Nassar repeatedly at Michigan State in 2000, when she was 15 and seeking treatment for wrist and back pain.

“The decision to pursue civil charges was painful and it was difficult. It is a decision to continue to be immersed in these events on a national scale, for an extended period of time,” Denhollander said.

I am proud of these women for coming forward and helping put a sexual predator behind bars where he belongs. I am also pleased to see that the organizations that aided and abetted this man will have to answer for their behavior and their failure to protect children.

 

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, California, and other states.

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