Larry Nassar, the former physician for USA Gymnastics who faces multiple charges of alleged abuse, might not face criminal charges for those complaints thanks to a plea deal.
According to the Washington Post, Nassar agreed to plead guilty to three federal charges concerning child pornography. Each charge carried up to 20 years of prison time; instead of facing nearly 60 years in jail, US attorneys will recommend that he serve 20-27 years. Charges related to “interstate/international travel with intent and engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places” will also be dropped.
The details of the plea agreement —and Nassar’s case—are rather bleak:
In the plea agreement, Nassar admits to knowingly collecting and possessing thousands of images and videos of child pornography between 2003 and 2016, and to trying to destroy evidence when he realized law enforcement was investigating him last year.
In September, the document states, Nassar paid $49 to have a computer service store “wipe” his work laptop, and also tried to dispose of two hard drives. Police discovered the hard drives in Nassar’s garbage cans when they came to search his home. An FBI agent later testified that the hard drives contained approximately 37,000 images and videos of child pornography, some showing girls as young as 6.
Nassar was employed by Michigan State University as a physician and volunteered with USA Gymnastics. Across the 80 or more women who have accused him of sexual abuse, their stories are all the same—so much so that many of the victims discussed the incidents amongst themselves and found that their experiences were frighteningly similar. Under the guise of examining the victims in his capacity as a physician, Nassar would vaginally penetrate the victims without wearing gloves or informing his victims about what was going to happen. He never asked for consent. In 2015, Nassar’s relationship with USA Gymnastics ended, but he continued to work at Michigan State through August 2016, when a criminal complaint was filed with police at the university.
The disgraced physician still faces 22 counts relating to alleged sexual assault of children in the state of Michigan. If the plea agreement is accepted, Nassar could also avoid facing charges stemming from allegations that he sexually assaulted gymnasts at Bela and Martha Karolyi’s training facility in Texas.