Schuette: Gymnastics doc’s charges ‘tip of the iceberg’

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Felony sexual assault charges filed against a former USA gymnastics team doctor are “the tip of the iceberg,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said, suggesting a continuing investigation is likely to produce further charges.

Schuette’s office on Monday charged Dr. Larry Nassar of Holt with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for alleged actions involving persons under the age of 13.

“This victim was just a little girl,” said Schuette, who offered few additional details about the person now known as “victim A” but said she is prepared to tell her story at trial.

Nassar, a 52-year-old former professor at Michigan State University and team physician for the school, has been under scrutiny this year after two gymnasts, including a member of the 2000 U.S. women’s Olympic team, accused him of sexual abuse. A lawsuit by one is pending in California.

The alleged Michigan victim was not a patient of Nassar’s, a gymnast or a member of his family, Schuette said. Her complaint alleges Nassar assaulted her at his home in Holt multiple times between 1998 and 2005.

“Dr. Nassar stole this young lady’s childhood, and as a father it breaks my heart to see that,” he said. “These were predatory acts, criminal acts, that were just outrageous. That’s why we filed these charges.”

Matthew Newberg, an attorney for Nassar, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nassar has denied wrongdoing. MSU fired him in September. USA Gymnastics cut ties in 2015.

Schuette discussed the case during a Tuesday afternoon press conference, telling reporters accusations against Nassar first published in August by the Indianapolis star have prompted other alleged victims to come forward.

The attorney general was joined in his Lansing offices by Michigan State University Police Chief Jim Dunlap, who said his department has fielded roughly 50 complaints against Nassar since late August.

The investigation has been complex, involving multiple jurisdictions and venues, Dunlap said, explaining that more than 12 detectives have been working on the probe at various times.

“In the meantime, we continue to receive complaints regarding possible assault involving Dr. Nassar,” said Dunlap, who urged anyone with information to call his department’s toll free tip line at 844-99-MSUPD.

Nassar was arraigned Tuesday in 55th District Court in Mason. Court records show he posted a $100,000 bond on Tuesday morning and was released after turning in his passport to the court.

Search warrants were recently executed on Nassar’s home in Holt, Dunlap confirmed, but he declined to discuss any details about what evidence police sought or seized.

In addition to MSU police, Schuette said his office is working cooperatively with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan as the Nassar probe continues.