CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – A disgraced sports doctor who admitted to sexually assaulting female gymnasts, including Olympians, and possessing child pornography has issued yet another guilty plea — his second conviction in a week.
Larry Nassar on Wednesday admitted to molesting girls with his hands at Twistars gymnastics club in Eaton County. He pleaded guilty to three criminal sexual conduct charges involving three victims, one who was younger than 13. The agreement, which came a week after a separate guilty plea next door in Ingham County, calls for between 25 and 40 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 31.
In exchange for the plea, some criminal sexual conduct and child porn charges will be dropped and no new charges will be filed against Nassar.
Nassar, 54, has dropped his claim that he was performing legitimate treatment for girls and young women who had hip and back pain. He worked at Michigan State University and at Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.
He admitted in court that he repeatedly used his position of authority as a doctor to coerce his victims to submit to the assaults, which involved penetrating their vagina with his ungloved fingers. He also admitted the acts were done for his personal satisfaction alone.
“I’m so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control,” Nassar told a judge last week. He was not allowed to issue a statement in court Wednesday.
In a third case, Nassar will be sentenced in federal court on Dec. 7 for possessing child pornography. He likely faces decades in prison. Meanwhile, more than 100 women and girls are suing him.
The criminal cases against Nassar followed reports last year in The Indianapolis Star about how USA Gymnastics mishandled complaints about sexual misconduct involving the doctor and coaches. Women and girls said the stories inspired them to step forward with detailed allegations of abuse. Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar’s victims.
The girls have testified that Nassar molested them while they sought help for gymnastics injuries, sometimes when a parent was present in the room. Many of the allegations are the same: During the course of Nassar’s treatments, the doctor inserted “his bare, ungloved and unlubricated hand” into the victim’s vagina.
“He convinced these girls that this was some type of legitimate treatment,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Poviliatis told a judge last summer. “Why would they question him? Why would they question this gymnastics god?”
When one woman reported Nassar’s disturbing “treatments” to MSU training staff, she was allegedly told that Nassar was a world-renowned doctor and that his “inter‐vaginal adjustments” were legitimate medical treatments. The incidents took place at his Michigan State clinic, his home in Holt and at a Lansing-area gymnastics club. Some allegations go back to 1998.
Nassar was fired from Michigan State University in September 2016, and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, cut ties in 2015.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.