Schuette: Former MSU, USA Gymnastics doctor charged with sex abuse ‘a monster’

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WXMI) — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says a sports doctor accused of sexually assaulting nine young gymnasts is a "monster."

Schuette spoke to reporters Wednesday after filing 22 first degree criminal sexual conduct charges against Dr. Larry Nassar, a former doctor at Michigan State University and at USA Gymnastics who treated elite female U.S. gymnasts.

Schuette called the mounting allegations against Nassar "one of the biggest cases of serial sexual assault in Michigan's history."

The charges mark the first criminal cases related to Nassar's work at Michigan State University where he was the preferred doctor for gymnasts in the region who had back or hip injuries. He's also being sued by dozens of women and girls, including 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, who described the assaults on "60 Minutes" Sunday.

"He would put his fingers inside of me, move my leg around," she said. "He would tell me I was going to feel a pop and that that would put my hips back and help my back pain."

Asked if more charges are coming, Schuette replied "absolutely."

Schuette says the victims were girls or teens who were molested at Nassar's home, his Michigan State clinic or a gymnastics club in Eaton County.

"This guy is disgusting, despicable. He is a monster," Schuette said at a Wednesday press conference.

Nassar, 53, was a doctor for Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, until summer 2015, accompanying the women's team at international competitions, including the Olympics. Michigan State fired him last September after he violated restrictions that were put in place in 2014 following a complaint.

Nassar's attorneys declined to comment Wednesday. He has denied abuse, and, in an email last fall to his Michigan State bosses, said, "I will overcome this."

The charges were filed in two cases: one in Ingham County, the home of Michigan State, and the other nearby in Eaton County, where Nassar saw injured girls at Gedderts' Twistars Club, a gymnastics club.

He's accused of sticking his fingers in their vaginas, without gloves, during treatments for various injuries. Parents were asked to leave the room or Nassar used a sheet or stood in a position to block any view, police said. Two girls were under age 13, and seven were 13 to 16.

"Dr. Nassar used his status and authority to engage in horrid sexual assaults under the guise of medical procedures," Schuette said.

A girl identified as Victim B, now 21, said she was sexually assaulted by Nassar "'more times than she could count,'" Det. Sgt. Andrea Munford wrote in an affidavit.

"Victim B stated that she and all the gymnasts trusted Nassar and that he was like a god to the gymnasts. ... Because it was happening to all of them, they thought it was normal," Munford said.

Munford said Nassar sometimes gave gifts to girls to keep their confidence, including leotards and pins from the Olympics. One victim quoted Nassar as saying, "We don't tell parents about this because they wouldn't understand," a reference to vaginal penetration.

Michigan State University Police Chief James Dunlap said he has more than a dozen people working on the Nassar investigation.

Michigan State student Lorenzo Santavicca says the university must be held accountable, adding he hopes officials do whatever is necessary to work with the alleged victims.

“I think that’s one of the biggest issues students have with this, whether or not the university is reaching out to ask how they can support (the victims) at this time," Santavicca said. "Sexual assault is not something that should be taken lightly.”

In separate cases filed in 2016, he's charged with possessing child pornography and molesting the daughter of family friends. He remains in jail without bond.

The Associated Press and FOX 17s Josh Sidorowicz contributed to this report

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