When the Indianapolis Star published their investigation on the sexual abuse of USA gymnasts, the findings focused on the coaches. Published just prior to the commencement of the Summer Olympics in Brazil, the allegations received widespread media attention.
Now, the Indianapolis Star has published a new story of sexual abuse. This time the alleged perpetrator is Dr. Larry Nassar, who is accused of fondling the two gymnasts’ breasts and genitalia during examinations. Nassar left USA Gymnastics last year after serving as the team physician during four Olympic games.
According to the Daily Beast, “One gymnast, an Olympic medalist, filed a lawsuit in a California state court that was made public on Monday. The other gymnast, Rachael Denhollander, filed a police complaint with Michigan State University police in August. Nassar is a faculty member there.
According to the California suit, the unnamed medalist, “Jane JD Doe,” claims that USA Gymnastics allowed Nassar to examine her in complete privacy, in clear violation of the organization’s standard of conduct. The other woman, Rachael Denhollander, spoke on the record to the newspaper, and appears in a lengthy video.
In it, Denhollander says that she sought treatment for back and wrist injuries from Nassar when she was a 15-year-old club-level gymnast in 2000, and claims that he became increasingly abusive during each session. In Denhollander’s account, Nassar unhooked her bra and fondled her breasts, and began “massaging internally,” penetrating her vagina and anus with his finger and thumb, she said. “He never wore gloves,” Denhollander said in the video.”
As in most sexual abuse cases involving minors, further investigation uncovers more abuse and more perpetrators. While all the facts are not available yet, it appears likely that USA Gymnastics’ abuse saga is systemic and culpability includes an institution that failed to protect vulnerable children.
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