Dr. Larry Nassar, a former athletic director for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, was arrested in November for three counts of sexual abuse against a minor. While police were executing his arrest warrant, they found several hard drives in a trash can by the curb of Nassar’s property, containing thousands of pornographic images and videos of children.
UPI reports that Nassar was arraigned in federal court on Wednesday, pleading not guilty to two child pornography counts. Investigators say some of the hard drives had Nassar’s name and phone number on them, and all together contained 37,000 images and videos. A Go Pro camera was also discovered that allegedly contains footage of Nassar molesting girls in a pool. And more women are coming forward, alleging he used his position as a doctor to assault them:
Nassar has been accused by more than 60 women of abusing them during invasive medical exams and has three lawsuits filed against him based on similar complaints of sexual abuse.
One woman, Tiffany Thomas Lopez, filed suit against Nassar on Wednesday, alleging he started treating her when she was a freshman at Michigan State in 1998. Lopez said Nassar inserted his finger into her vagina and pressed on a pelvic bone at least 10 times, with complaints she felt it was unnecessary going largely ignored by the university when she complained.
Lopez’s lawyer, John Manly, says he is representing two other women who allege they were abused by Nassar, one of whom is an Olympic medalist. He estimated to UPI that he expects to file as many as fifteen lawsuits against the doctor, saying, “The more it goes on, the more it starts to feel like a Sandusky situation.”
Meanwhile, the IndyStar has continued with their exhaustive coverage of USA Gymnastics and the organization’s failure to flag abusive coaches and protect gymnasts. In a new report, they’ve focused in on one pedophile who moved from gym to gym to gym over a period of decades.
Ray Adams was sent to jail in 2013, but his first reported molestation accusation was in 1993, when he allegedly molested a 12-year-old gymnast named Jenny Brannan. Brannan agreed to be identified by the IndyStar, and told them that at first she dismissed Adams’ more intimate touching when he spotted her as a weird mistake. Then, one day during a private lesson he asked her to come into the office to talk:
Away from others in the gym. Adams closed the door.
“Sit in my lap,” he invited. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
He placed his hand above her knee, she testified. He asked if it tickled or gave her goose bumps.
“No,” she said.
Adams slid his hand higher. Does this tickle?
He pulled her leotard to the side and touched her vagina. Does this?
He put his finger inside her. Brannan said she knew it was wrong. She wanted him to stop but didn’t say it.
“I was raised that you don’t really question authority,” she said.
Brannan said she thinks Adams stopped because he realized she was getting upset. They finished practice as if nothing had happened.
Deeply disturbed, Brannan told another child what had happened, who then told her own mother, who finally contacted Brannan’s mom. Brannan’s mother demanded that Adams be fired. The gym owner complied, but didn’t report Adams to the police. Similar stories followed Adams as he moved states and practiced at different gyms. He was reportedly very well-liked by mothers and kids, but engaged in grooming behaviors that many gym owners told the IndyStar they weren’t trained to recognize at the time, like gift-giving, massages, hair-stroking, hugs, picture-taking.
One mother from a Treasure Coast gym, Sonya Fronsoe, said her daughter was the rare student who thought that Adams had a creepy vibe right off the bat. In 2007, Fronsoe attempted her own investigation:
She decided to do some research into Adams’ background. When she called his former employers, she said, they were cautious but encouraged her to continue digging.
“Every single person I called, it just got worse and worse,” Fronsoe said.
One former employer warned her Adams was “evil.”
“You need to get him out of your gym,” Fronsoe said she was told. “I’m warning you.”
Adams was fired from that gym, which has since closed, but Fronsoe then encountered him a meet in 2009, at which her daughter refused to participate when she also saw Adams. Fronsoe claims she wrote a letter to USA Gymnastics saying that Adams continued participation in meets was “horrifying and creates fear in me for those other gymnasts as well as the possibility of my daughter being in the same gym with this man.” She also says followed up with a phone call and receipt of the letter was acknowledged, but USA Gymnastics denies this.
In 2009, Adams was arrested for allegedly molesting a 10-year-old girl at Bieger International Gymnastics in Florida. It was only then that USA Gymnastics finally suspended his credentials. However, many disbelieved the 10-year-old, and friends and family of Adams raised over $80,000 to post his bond and more for his legal defense fund. Almost three-and-a-half years later, while under house arrest, federal authorities caught Adams allegedly attempting to download child pornography, clicking on a link titled: “Pics and videos to download of my personal adventures during Mardi Gras 2012!!!! See me have sex with 3-10 years olds.”
In May of 2013, Adams plead guilty to one count of attempted receipt of child pornography and not long after he plead no contest to two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation for his assault of the 10-year-old gymnast. At his conviction, USA Gymnastics added him to the banned coaches list.