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MSU and Twistars Enabled Larry Nassar’s Ability to Sexually Assault, Abuse, and Molest Young Girls

10 comments

Since my last Nassar post, we have learned the FBI has uncovered over 37,000 images and videos of child pornography kept on his computer at his home in Holt, Michigan.  Some of the videos actually show the former Michigan State University doctor sexually assaulting girls under the age of 12.  In the indictment records, it was revealed that during a nearly 14-year period, Nassar compiled thousands of images of child pornography including those of someone as young as 6 years old.  Some of this evidence was discovered in a garbage can on Nassar’s property.  Forensic computer investigation also reveals apparent attempts to clear information that had been stored on hard drives.

I have now talked to over a half dozen victims and survivors.  Some girls under 18, others young women in their 20s, and their parents.  Their stories are eerily similar.  The grooming would begin when they were only 8 or 9 at Twistars, an elite gymnastics club.  He would have them call him “Larry” instead of “Dr. Nassar.”  He would spend hours and hours there building up the trust of these vulnerable young girls and their parents, while having the validation of being employed by Michigan State University since 1996 and also working for USA Gymnastics.  I have been told about consistent accounts of what would happen to them right in the MSU Sports Medicine Clinic, even while parents were present, as he methodically positioned his unsuspecting and trusting prey right there, as he conducted his heinous abuse of trust and sexually deviant misconduct.  This perpetrator would do this time and again at Twistars as well and if you can believe this, he would also lure these girls and young women to his home, with their parents’ knowledge due to the trust that was developed and the failure of MSU and Twistars to report information to the authorities as complaints were raised.  Yes, some of this child pornography were videos he would take of the girls who trusted him.

Based on court filings, as early as 1999, a MSU student athlete began reporting to trainers and her coach, who were employees of MSU, concerns about Dr. Nassar’s conduct and “treatment,” yet MSU failed to take any action in response to her complaints.  In 2000, another MSU student athlete reported to trainers concerns about him, yet again no action was taken by MSU in response to her complaints.  Because MSU took no action to investigate the 1999 or 2000 complaints, and took no corrective action from 2000 to 2016, under the guise of “treatment” dozens and perhaps 100s of girls and young women, many of whom were minors, were also sexually assaulted, abused, and molested by Nassar by nonconsensual vaginal and anal digital penetration, nonconsensual sexual touching of the vaginal and anal area without gloves, and nonconsensual touching and groping of their breasts.  MSU didn’t sever its relationship with Dr. Nassar until September 2016 despite hundreds of complaints made over almost 2 decades.

In fact, once this information was made public, I wanted to alert these victims and survivors that they weren’t alone by placing a TV ad on WLNS, which read:

Attention Michigan Residents: Have you or a loved one experienced sexual assault, molestation, or digital penetration while a patient of former MSU Dr. Larry Nassar?  Call me for a free consultation.

However, pressure was brought to prevent me from using MSU in the ad and the ad couldn’t even use the term “digital penetration,” despite what these girls and young women suffered and that every piece of news coverage, print and media, used the term.  My hope is that MSU, unlike Penn State University for way too long, will own their responsibility, not use legal maneuvering to escape accountability for what happened during their watch.  Too many lives have been affected forever not to be properly compensated.

10 Comments

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  1. Linda Berkland says:
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    Penn State waited too long to accept responsibility? Jesus they paid out $90M to to victims and has been self flagellating since the day Sandusky was arrested!!. It is Sandusky’s charity (the source of the victims) who never accepted any responsibility!!

  2. David Mittleman says:
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    Linda, 1st let me thank U for taking the time to read my Blog Post. When I suggested that MSU not wait as long as PSU to own their responsibility, I wasn’t suggesting that PSU didn’t eventually do the right thing. Once the cover up became public, PSU did accept their accountability and made compensation for the victims in a timely manner which I believe MSU should do. But, it did take PSU quite a while to accept responsibility from the time they knew or should have known what was happening. Based on my preliminary investigation MSU, knew or should have know about what was happening in 1999. Certainly the MSU trainers and gymnastics coach did.

  3. Mark Beaubien says:
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    David:

    This is a major news story, every bit as bad as the Sandusky scandal at Penn State, but right now it is not receiving substantial news coverage.

  4. Linda Berkland says:
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    I did not realize you had responded to my comment, David, but I appreciate you taking the time. Your response however leaves me shaking my head a bit with regard to “known or should have known”. That simple statement is all I need to hear from someone to know that they have not taken the requisite time to learn about and understand preferential child sexual offenders (PCSOs). Larry Nassar is a PCSO. So is Sandusky. History is repeating itself at MSU. That’s what happens when people don’t learn from history.

    You mention PSU immediately responding to reports about Sandusky – they did that! Twice. The only 2 incidents involving PSU and the Penn State campus that were brought to anyone’s attention were both reported outside the university. The first time, it was reported to state child welfare agencies and the DA became involved. Despite a psychologist telling PA DPW that Sandusky was exhibiting “grooming behaviors”, DPW said “nothing to see here folks.” They opted not to indicate Sandusky and that was the end of that. The second time, the now famous incident, was reported (appropriately per the law in 2001) to the charity who had oversight of the children in question – The Second Mile. You can read more here about their thought process when the report was brought to them by PSU. http://www.statecollege.com/news/local-news/bruce-heim-shedding-light-on-the-second-miles-decision-making,1465648/

    Dr. Jack Raykovitz, at the helm of TSM, was a trained and licensed child psychologist (still is by the way). He did NOT consider this behavior indicative of a problem even though they had indications long before. Raykovitz’s wife acknowledged “we’ve had to tell him to back off certain children before.” https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2012/08/14/at-second-mile-who-knew-what-and-when-did-they-know-it/

    Despite the knowledge they had, it was TSM who opted not to report the shower incident to state child welfare officials and instead, Dr. Raykovitz instructed Sandusky to “wear swim trunks” while showering with children.

    So you see, David, even trained and licensed professionals don’t “know” when they are working with a PCSO. To suggest that anyone would know or should know does a huge disservice to the cause of child protection. I would much prefer to prevent future abuse than to respond with monetary settlements after someone is abused. The Paterno family commissioned an expert on child abuse (a victim himself) to write a report on PCSOs. I suggest you read it. http://www.paterno.com/Resources/Docs/CLEMENTE_FINAL_REPORT_2-7-2013.pdf

    Ken Lanning also wrote a report for law enforcement as a guide to understanding sexual offenders. That is also a good read.

    My heart bleeds for the victims of Larry Nassar and Jerry Sandusky. I hope that MSU will do what Penn State did not and acknowledge that they had a PCSO within their institution and DID NOT KNOW IT. And then I hope they put considerable resources toward research and education so we can FINALLY educate the public and help protect children. That is the only just outcome.

  5. David Mittleman says:
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    Stay tuned Mark, it will be National soon…much bigger than PSU, maybe by a factor of 10

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    Good morning Linda, thank U for all the info. The blogs I publish are to help educate and provide information, primarily dealing w safety issues. Rest assured the team I am assembling in corroboration w the legal teams in CA and MI, we will bring all our resources to bring help make more Public Awareness to what U and I know. Your assistance will help and I will be sure to share w those of us who intend to hold MSU accountable. my direct email is dmittleman@churchwyble.com plz contact me any time (O) 517 372 8545 toll free 888 227 4770 or (C) 517 290 0132 again Thank U, David

  7. Linda Berkland says:
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    David, thanks again for your response. If you’re serious about child protection as a priority, I have a team of Penn Staters who have devoted ourselves to this cause for 5 years. These are not sports stories. They are stories of ignorance and human failure. I’m happy to contribute if you’re truly committed.

  8. Brian says:
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    Are there any indications that those coaches and trainers who received complaints in 1999 brought those complaints to administration?

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    That is a big part of this Brian, we represent a woman now who was viciously sexually assaulted as a minor in 96 and 97, apprised the now 27 long MSU gymnastics coach, that as a 16/17 year old she thought something was wrong, but instead of reporting the complaint, the coach intimidated her, told the doctor and they manipulated this young Girl in to thinking it was appropriate medical treatment. There were also complaints in 2004 about him, in 2014 MSU slapped him on the wrist w “restrictions” he didn’t follow and they never followed through until he was arrested. So to answer your question, the administration knew or should have known.

  10. David Mittleman says:
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    Linda, I have now read the Report of James Clemente and his conclusions that the Paterno Family wanted to hear.
    While I agree w U that “nice-guy” acquaintance offenders are more illusive and young McQueary was confused in the PSU scandal…here in the MSU Scandal we don’t have an observation we don’t understand, we have a victim, a Survivor saying I told the Adult in the room and this Adult employee of MSU threatened this Minor, Intimidated this Minor and I can’t prove it yet but I am getting there, she told people up the food chain. We know she told the predator. So I don’t buy your conclusion that only educating people about this is the way to proceed. That undoubtedly is Important to be sure. And I will continue to do so. Until my client gave her public televised statement, I was comfortable w saying(whether U like it or not, and without regard to whether me saying so, that it gives U the authority to tell me how little I know on the topic) “MSU knew or should have known” the reality here is that MSU Did Know and did Nothing about it for 2 Decades and hundreds of sexually abused young girls and Women are scared for life because they Failed to protect them.
    I would be happy to discuss the difference here with U and or James Clemente at your conveniences.