Dr. Larry Nassar — a former USA Gymnastics doctor who had also treated elite female gymnasts at Michigan State University — was charged Wednesday morning with 34 new sex-abuse charges after dozens of former patients accused him of sexual assault, multiple outlets report.
The charges come more than five months after a sexual assault investigation into the fired doctor was launched at the famed university. Nassar, 53, has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges and denied any wrongdoing — maintaining that the procedures he performed on the gymnasts were legitimate, NBC News reports.
He was charged with criminal sexual conduct in the first and third in two Michigan counties, NBC New reports. In Ingham County, at least half a dozen women filed charges — including a victim under the age of 13. In Eaton County, another 11 charges were filed.
Nassar is licensed in the state of Michigan to practice osteopathic medicine. The alleged assaults occurred during medical appointments, according to testimony. These included procedures involving digital vaginal and anal penetration, the Lansing State Journal reports.
Osteopathic care does include a therapy in which practitioners massage the vagina to relieve back and hip pain. But the therapist is expected to wear surgical gloves in all circumstances and have a chaperone present if the patient is a minor. The gymnasts say they were often alone with Nassar and he did not wear gloves.
Attorney General Bill Schuette and police plan to provide more details at an afternoon news conference, the Associated Press reports.
Nassar was the team doctor for USA Gymnastics from 1996 to 2015 and served as team physician for several sports at MSU from the 1990s to 2015. He also served as a physician for Twistars, a Michigan gymnastics center.
He was fired by MSU in September, following a 2014 complaint by a graduate — though evidence of misconduct was not found. School officials said he violated restrictions that were put on his treatments, the AP reported.
USA Gymnastics said in a statement that it wasn’t made aware of the allegations against Nassar until June 2015, and they then terminated Nassar. When USA Gymnastics first received a report of “an athlete’s concern” from a coach, the organization says they notified the FBI.
Nassar has also been charged with the federal crime of possessing child pornography. Last December, he was held without bond when FBI agents investigating the abuse charges from gymnasts and students found 37,000 child pornography images and videos at his home, some of which he had stored on computer hard drives that he attempted to throw out in a trash bin. The FBI also has Go Pro video of Nassar allegedly molesting girls in a pool.
John Manly, the lawyer for many of Nassar’s alleged victims, said his clients have reported abuse by Nassar beginning as far back as 1996. It was nearly a decade later before MSU or USA Gymnastics conducted their own probes into Nassar’s conduct.