Lawrence Gerard Nassar
August 16, 1963
Farmington Hills, Michigan, United States
|Home town||Farmington Hills, Michigan|
Stephanie Lynn Anderson
(m. 1996; div. 2017)
|Imprisoned at||Incarcerated at United States Penitentiary, Coleman; Federal Bureau of Prisons Register #21504-040; earliest possible release March 23, 2069|
Nassar's cumulative criminal acts of sexual assault were the basis of the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal, in which he was accused of molesting at least 250 girls and young women and 1 young man including a number of well-known Olympic gymnasts, dating as far back as 1992. He has admitted to ten of the accusations.
In July 2017, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. On January 24, 2018, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in a Michigan state prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of minors. On February 5, 2018, he was sentenced to an additional 40 to 125 years in prison after pleading guilty to an additional three counts of sexual assault. His federal and state sentences are to run consecutively.
Nassar was born on August 16, 1963, in Farmington Hills, Michigan, to Fred Nassar (1925–2000) and Mary Nassar. In 1978, he began working as a student athletic trainer with the women's gymnastics team at North Farmington High School. He had received the assignment on the recommendation of his older brother, Mike, who was an athletic trainer at the school. Nassar graduated from North Farmington High School in 1981.
He went on to study kinesiology at the University of Michigan, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1985. During this time, he worked with the university's football and track and field teams.
He married Stephanie Lynn Anderson on October 19, 1996, at St. John's Catholic Church in East Lansing. The couple has two daughters and a son. Stephanie Nassar was granted a divorce from her estranged husband in July 2017 and gained full custody of the three children. At the time of his arrest by federal agents in December 2016, Nassar lived in Holt, Michigan.
In 1986, Nassar began working as an athletic trainer for the USA Gymnastics national team. In 1993, he graduated from the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. He went on to complete his residency training in family practice at St. Lawrence Hospital. In 1997, Nassar completed a fellowship in sports medicine and began working as an assistant professor at MSU's Department of Family and Community Medicine in the College of Medicine, earning $100,000 annually. Nassar is listed as a co-author on at least six research papers on the treatment of injuries in gymnasts.
From 1996 to 2014, Nassar was the national medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics.
Sexual assault accusations and convictions
In 2015, USA Gymnastics cut ties with Nassar "after learning of athlete concerns." In September 2016, The Indianapolis Star revealed that Rachael Denhollander and another former gymnast had accused Nassar of sex abuse. Michigan State fired him on September 20; he had been reassigned from clinical and teaching duties a month earlier.
In February 2017, three former gymnasts—Jeanette Antolin, Jessica Howard and Jamie Dantzscher—gave an interview with 60 Minutes in which they said that Nassar had sexually abused them. The gymnasts also alleged that the "emotionally abusive environment" at the national team training camps run by Béla and Márta Károlyi at the Karolyi Ranch near Huntsville, Texas gave Nassar an opportunity to take advantage of the gymnasts and made them afraid to speak up about the abuse. Rachael Denhollander, one of the first women to publicly accuse Nassar, said in court in May 2017 that Nassar sexually abused her on five doctor's visits in 2000, when she was 15 years old.
Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney, using the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter, stated that Nassar repeatedly molested her, starting when she was 13 years old and until she retired from the sport in 2016. Maroney subsequently filed a lawsuit against Nassar, Michigan State University, the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics.
The lawsuit accused USA Gymnastics of covering up the sexual abuse by paying Maroney $1.25 million to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Maroney's attorney, John Manly, referred to Nassar as a "pedophile doctor".
Raisman stated that Nassar molested her when she was 15 years old. Gabby Douglas was criticized by fellow Olympic teammate Simone Biles and others for sending a tweet that they interpreted as criticizing Raisman and of "victim-shaming", stating that "dressing in a provocative/sexual way incites the wrong crowd." Douglas later apologized for the tweet, and said she was also a victim of Nassar's abuse.
Former national team member Maggie Nichols accused Nassar of abusing her. She documented the ways he "groomed" her by connecting with her on Facebook and complimenting her appearance on numerous occasions. According to court filings and interviews, it was Nichols and her coach, Sarah Jantzi, who reported Nassar to USA Gymnastics officials on June 17, 2015, after the coach overheard Maggie and another gymnast talking about Nassar's behavior. Simone Biles came forward shortly after with accounts that she too had been sexually abused by Nassar, and Jordyn Wieber made a statement at Nassar's court sentencing in which she also accused Nassar of sexually abusing her during her time at USA Gymnastics.
In November 2016, Nassar was indicted on state charges of sexual assault of a child from 1998 to 2005; the crimes allegedly began when the victim was six years old. Ultimately, he was charged with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with minors: fifteen in Ingham County and seven in neighboring Eaton County.
The allegations asserted that Nassar had molested seven girls under the guise that he was providing legitimate medical treatment at his home and at a clinic on the MSU campus.
Nassar was arrested by the FBI in December 2016 after agents found more than 37,000 images of child pornography and a video of Nassar molesting underage girls. On April 6, 2017, his medical license was revoked for three years.
On July 11, 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography in 2004, possession of pornographic images of children dating from 2004 to 2016, and tampering with evidence by destroying and concealing the images. On December 7, 2017, U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff sentenced Nassar to 60 years in federal prison. If he survives that sentence, he will be on supervised release for the rest of his life.
On November 22, 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty in Ingham County Circuit Court to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with minors under the age of sixteen. He admitted molesting seven girls, three of whom were under the age of thirteen. On November 29, he pleaded guilty to an additional three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County. As of January 18, 2018, 135 women had accused Nassar of sexual assault while he worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. During the following week, the number rose to 150. In a lawsuit that was filed in April 2017, a woman claimed that Nassar had sexually assaulted her while he was still in medical school in 1992.
On January 24, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison for the sexual assault of minors. Aquillina allowed Nassar's accusers to present extended victim impact statements and dismissed objections raised to this move by Nassar. In sentencing, the judge informed Nassar that he had missed numerous chances to receive treatment for his sexual urges; Nassar had been aware of these urges from a young age. She added that there were likely dozens of additional victims who had not come forward. She made it clear that she did not intend for Nassar to ever be free again.
Nassar was practicing without a Texas medical license while he worked at the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville. According to gymnast McKayla Maroney, this is the place where Nassar molested young women for over 15 years. The practice of medicine without a license in Texas is a third-degree felony, although it is rarely prosecuted.
On January 31, a Michigan judge stated that thus far 265 girls had accused him of sexual misconduct.
On February 5, Eaton County Circuit Judge Janice Cunningham sentenced Nassar to 40 to 125 years in prison for the three counts of criminal sexual assault to which he had pleaded in November. Nassar apologized for his years of abuse, saying that the impact his victims' statements had on him "pales in comparison" to the suffering he inflicted on them. Cunningham was unmoved, saying that she believed Nassar was still in "denial" about the "devastating impact" of his crimes.
The Eaton County sentence will run concurrently with the Ingham County sentence. In turn, Nassar's state sentences will begin upon completion of his federal child pornography sentence; Neff had ordered that any sentences imposed at state level run consecutively with the federal sentence. As a result, Nassar will serve a minimum of 100 years in prison; each individual sentence would have been enough by itself to all but assure that he will die in prison.
Nassar, Federal Bureau of Prisons Register #21504-040, was transferred to United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona in February 2018. Earlier, he had been transferred from a Michigan county jail to the federal detention center at FCI Milan near Milan, Michigan.
In August 2018, The Detroit News reported Nassar had been transferred to the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma pending assignment to a new prison. According to his lawyers, Nassar was assaulted almost as soon as he was placed in general population at USP Tucson. An investigation subsequently determined that Nassar could not be safely held at Tucson, and needed to be transferred to a facility where it was safe for him to be housed in the general population. In August 2018, he was moved to the United States Penitentiary, Coleman. His earliest possible release from federal custody will be March 23, 2069, by which time he would be 105 years old; if he is still alive at that point, he will then begin his state sentences.
Following Nassar's conviction, more than 150 federal and state lawsuits have been filed against him, Michigan State University, the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, and the Twistars Gymnastics Club. The entire 18-member board of USA Gymnastics (including Steve Penny) have tendered their resignations. MSU President Lou Anna Simon has resigned along with MSU Director of Athletics Mark Hollis. Additional people are also under scrutiny. Nassar's crimes at Michigan State and USA Gymnastics have drawn comparisons to Jerry Sandusky's pedophilic activity at Penn State University. In each case, mistakes were made when authorities "turned the other way" or tried to hide the activities of a child molester instead of immediately contacting law enforcement.
Michigan State University has agreed to pay $500 million to 332 alleged victims of Nassar, settling lawsuits filed by the victims. It's the largest amount of money in history settled by a university for a sexual abuse case.
On July 18, 2018, more than 140 survivors of Nassar's abuse appeared on stage together at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California to receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2018 ESPY Awards ceremony. Gymnasts Sara Klein and Aly Raisman and softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez accepted on the survivors’ behalf and spoke. Klein identified herself as Nassar's first victim 30 years prior. Lead detective Andrea Munford of the Michigan State Police, former assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis, and Judge Rosemarie Aquilina of the 30th circuit court in Ingham County, Michigan were identified. Aquilina was present at the ceremony. Singer MILCK performed her song "Quiet”. She was herself a victim of sexual abuse.
In late July 2018, it was announced that Nassar would seek a new sentencing hearing due to concerns of perceived bias by Judge Aquilina. His request was later denied by Judge Janice Cunningham.
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Lawrence Gerard Nassar, 54, of Holt, Michigan...
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Part of the plea deal allowed all of the 135 women who have accused Nassar of abusing them -- many when they sought him out for medical treatment -- to confront him and share their stories with the court.
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