Team USA doc­tor ac­cused of sex abuse says he wasn’t fired

Also, probe finds a com­plaint in­volv­ing a third al­leged vic­tim

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Tim Evans, Mark Ale­sia and Marisa Kwiatkowsk­i

I NDIANAPOLI­S A long­time team physi­cian for USA Gym­nas­tics on Tues­day dis­puted the Olympic or­ga­ni­za­tion’s state­ment that he had been fired in 2015 af­ter ath­lete com­plaints.

The dis­agree­ment over why Larry Nas­sar left the vol­un­teer po­si­tion he held for 29 years came af­ter The In­di­anapo­lis Star pub­lished a story Mon­day de­tail­ing two for­mer gym­nasts’ ac­cu­sa­tions that Nas­sar had sex­u­ally as­saulted them dur­ing treat­ments.

IndyS­tar also learned Tues­day that Nas­sar was the sub­ject of a mis­con­duct com­plaint in­volv­ing a third al­leged vic­tim in 2014. The com­plaint was brought by a re­cent fe­male grad­u­ate of Michi­gan State Univer­sity, where Nas­sar is a fac­ulty mem­ber. It al­leged “abuse dur­ing a med­i­cal pro­ce­dure.”

A school spokesman said Nas­sar was in­ves­ti­gated and the prose­cu­tor did not file charges. Nas­sar has not been charged with any crime in con­nec­tion with the al­le­ga­tions. His at­tor­ney has said his client “adamantly de­nies any mis­con­duct at this or any other time.”

Nas­sar has been “re­lieved of clin­i­cal and pa­tient du­ties” at the univer­sity since Aug. 30, when cam­pus po­lice re­ceived an al­le­ga­tion by one of the women who came for­ward in re­sponse to

IndyS­tar’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of USA Gym­nas­tics and its han­dling of sex­ual abuse com­plaints. In re­sponse to ques­tions from

IndyS­tar last week, In­di­anapolis­based USA Gym­nas­tics said it had re­ceived ear­lier com­plaints about Nas­sar from gym­nasts other than those in the IndyS­tar story.

“Dr. Nas­sar is no longer af­fil­i­ated with USA Gym­nas­tics,” the state­ment said. “Upon learn­ing of ath­lete con­cerns, USA Gym­nas­tics im­me­di­ately no­ti­fied law en­force­ment. Since then, we have co­op­er­ated fully with the law en­force­ment agency, in­clud­ing re­frain­ing from mak­ing fur­ther state­ments or tak­ing any other ac­tion that might in­ter­fere with the agency’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion. We are grate­ful to the ath­letes for com­ing for­ward to share their con­cerns.”

The group, which serves as the sport’s na­tional gov­ern­ing body and se­lects the Olympic team, would not re­spond to spe­cific ques­tions about its han­dling of the al­le­ga­tions against Nas­sar, in­clud­ing the law en­force­ment agency where it re­ported Nas­sar.

But af­ter the story was pub­lished on IndyS­, USA Gym­nas­tics is­sued a sub­se­quent state­ment with more de­tail, in­clud­ing that Nas­sar had been “re­lieved” of his po­si­tion.

Nas­sar’s at­tor­ney, Matt Borgula, is­sued a state­ment Tues­day dis­put­ing that claim.

“Dr. Nas­sar was never ‘re­lieved’ of his vol­un­teer po­si­tion at USA Gym­nas­tics,” the state­ment said. “He con­sid­ered re­tire­ment in 2013, long be­fore the cur­rent al­le­ga­tions came to light, but was asked to stay on by the coaches and ath­letes be­cause they re­lied on his ex­per­tise to care for the gym­nasts that rep­re­sent our coun­try. He later re­tired in 2015 af­ter 29 years of ser­vice.

“His de­ci­sion was not in­flu­enced by the cur­rent al­le­ga­tions be­cause he was un­aware of those al­le­ga­tions un­til yes­ter­day. In­stead, he re­tired be­cause it was a vol­un­tary po­si­tion and he wished to pur­sue other in­ter­ests out­side of USA Gym­nas­tics.”


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