Emotional, Sexual Abuse of Former U.S. Gymnast Is Subject of Lawsuit

A 24-year-old woman who is a former member of the USA Gymnastics team filed a lawsuit accusing the team’s former doctor of sexual assault, and the team’s coaches of emotional and physical abuse. The suit claims the doctor assaulted the unidentified woman during medical examinations and that the coaches would not halt the abuse even though they knew about it.

gymnastic-sexual-misconduct-espn-quoteThe lawsuit alleges that Larry Nassar, who was the team doctor when the woman was a member between ages 12 and 18, would assault her during her medical exams by digitally penetrating her vagina and claiming that the action was supposed to adjust her bones. Nassar is the defendant in another lawsuit filed in September by another former gymnast who made similar allegations against him.

Nassar is also the subject of an investigation in Michigan; ESPN uncovered over 30 criminal complaints against him, accusing him of sexual misconduct. He has also been accused of additional sexual misconduct disguised as medical exams; this batch of accusations lead USA Gymnastics to fire him in 2015.

This latest lawsuit alleges that Nassar and Bela and Marta Karolyi engaged in repeated abuse of the gymnasts on the team at the Karolyis‘ ranch in Texas. The ranch became the team’s training facility in 2001. The Karolyis have been accused of turning “a blind-eye to Nassar’s sexual abuse of children at the ranch” as well as maintaining “a regime of intimidation and fear” among the gymnasts. The lawsuit claims the Karolyis would physically hurt the gymnasts by scratching and hitting them, taunt the gymnasts about their weight and call them fat, limit their food and water to the point of deprivation, and make them remove their clothing and stand in only their underwear while requiring their teammates to judge them.

In addition to Nassar and both Karolyis, the lawsuit names USA Gymnastics; two private coaches, Artur Akopyan and Galina Marinova; former president Robert Colarossi, and current president Steve Penny as defendants. None of the defendants have issued any comments regarding the accusations or the lawsuit.


Original story by John Barr ESPN.com video