Charges Filed Against USA Gymnastics Doctor Accused of Underage Sexual Abuse
If convicted on all three criminal counts, Dr. Larry Nassar could be sentenced to life in prison
A former team physician for USA Gymnastics has been charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13, less than two months after he was accused by two gymnasts of sexual abuse.
PEOPLE confirms that a warrant was issued Monday for former Michigan State University faculty member Dr. Larry Nassar, who had spent decades working with members of the U.S. women’s national team.
If convicted on all three criminal counts, Nassar could be sentenced to life in prison.
Nassar, 53, was previously accused of abuse in a September lawsuit filed in California. The suit, which also named the USA Gymnastics organization as a defendant, alleged that Nassar groped and fondled two gymnasts during physical therapy sessions.
Both gymnasts were minors at the time of the alleged unwanted sexual touching, according to the suit.
Nassar spent 29 years working for USA Gymnastics but was let go last year, records show.
One of the complainants is identified only as “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit. The second plaintiff, Rachael Denhollander, has come forward publicly with her allegations.
The suit alleges that when she was 15, Nassar would massage Denhollander’s breasts and penetrate her with his fingers. She alleges Nassar never wore gloves when examining her at Michigan State while he was a faculty member.
Denhollander alleges she filed a complaint against Nassar several months ago with the university’s police force.
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Nassar’s attorney, Matthew Borgula, did not respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
Reached at her office Monday afternoon, Megan Hawthorne, a spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, declined to comment on the charges or on whether additional charges are possible.
Records indicate that Nassar is being held without bail by the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan. Nassar has not yet entered a plea to the charges against him.
The September lawsuit alleges that USA Gymnastics was aware Nassar had been accused of engaging in inappropriate touching with some of the team’s members but did nothing to address the allegations.
The lawsuit further alleges USA Gymnastics actively covered up claims made against the doctor, but it does not detail specific instances.
Nassar lost his job with the university soon after the lawsuit was filed.
“USA Gymnastics today learned about the charges against Dr. Larry Nassar through a media report,” reads a statement from USA Gymnastics. “As we previously have made clear, when USA Gymnastics first learned of athlete concerns regarding Dr. Nassar, those concerns were reported to the FBI and Nassar was dismissed from further involvement with USA Gymnastics. We are unable to comment further due to the ongoing FBI investigation and pending litigation.”
In September, a spokesman for the East Lansing school told PEOPLE Nassar had been the focus of a police investigation two years ago and that university officials temporarily reassigned Nassar during the investigation.
“The complaint, filed by a recent female MSU graduate at the time, involved an allegation of abuse during a medical procedure,” a spokesman for the school told PEOPLE.
“An administrative investigation revealed no violation of MSU policy, and the local prosecutor’s office did not file charges after an investigation by MSU police.”