Nassar admits to molesting girls in second state case
Larry Nassar pleaded guilty in a second state criminal case in Eaton County court Wednesday morning. The former sports doctor for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics admitted to molesting three girls, one of whom was under the age of 13 at the time of the abuse. Nassar also pleaded guilty in a separate case in Ingham County earlier this month.
Wednesday’s guilty plea alone could land Nassar in prison for life. Sentencing in the Eaton County case is scheduled for January 31.
“I think our clients have some optimism that at this point the justice system is finally working,” said Adam Sturdivant, an attorney representing dozens of Nassar’s accusers in a civil case. “Knowing that Nassar will be hopefully sentenced for quite a long time brings some relief.”
Along with Nassar, the civil suit names Michigan State University, the University’s regents, USA Gymnastics Inc. and Geddert’s Twistars Gymnastics Club, USA as defendants. Sturdivant says the charges in the Eaton County case stem from incidents that occurred when Nassar abused gymnasts at Twistars under the guise of medical treatment.
Sturdivant says his clients want those institutions that employed Nassar to be held accountable themselves. He said statements by MSU about the investigation into Nassar’s behavior “ring hollow” to his client's ears. “They’re upset, and they’re angry,” he said of his clients.
“We believe there’s a culture of enabling abuse at Michigan State and other institutions,” Sturdivant said. “If people knew (about Nassar’s abuse), if people could have done something, which we think they could have and should have as early as the 1990s, then they’re going to have to answer for that.”
MSU has spent millions on an internal investigation into Nassar's career at the school, and how he could have allegedly abused young patients for years without getting in trouble. Yet there's currently no plan to release those findings to the public.
In the courtroom, Nassar appeared handcuffed, and dressed in an orange jumpsuit. One of Nassar’s attorneys, Shannon Smith, read him a list of questions to determine the “factual basis” for the guilty plea. Answering in a low voice, Nassar admitted to using his finger to penetrate three unnamed victim’s vaginas. He was instructed multiple times to answer the questions more loudly.
Judge Janice Cunningham jumped in with additional questions. Nassar admitted that his finger was not gloved, that the procedure served no medical purpose, and was against medical protocol; as well as that that the victims were too young to consent.
At one point, Cunningham asked, “Do you further admit that this procedure was for your own purpose?”
Nassar briefly hesitated, answered “Yes,” looked down, and sighed.
Nassar is scheduled to appear in federal court on December 7 for sentencing on child pornography charges. He previously pleaded guilty in that case.