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‘60 Minutes’ to air gymnasts alleging abuse by MSU doc

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Interviews with former members of the U.S. National Gymnastics team who say they were sexually abused by Dr. Larry Nassar, a former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor, will air Sunday on “60 Minutes.”

Jessica Howard is among athletes speaking out against the alleged actions of MSU Dr. Larry Nassar.

The piece, which will air at 7 p.m., includes interviews with Jessica Howard and Jeanette Antolin, both members of the U.S. National Team in the late 1990s who allege Nassar sexually abused them during medical treatment sessions at the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center at Karolyi Ranch in Texas, where the young gymnasts would go to train roughly once a month.

“He started massaging me. And he had asked me not to wear any underwear,” said Howard during a preview of the segment. “And then he just continued to go into more and more intimate places. ... I remember thinking something was off, but I didn’t feel like I was able to say anything because he was, you know, this very high profile doctor. ... The girls would say, ‘Yeah, he touches you funny.’”

On Friday, the 53-year-old Nassar, who was fired by MSU last year, was bound over for trial on three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Seven lawsuits have been filed against Nassar in federal and state courts in Ingham County, Grand Rapids and California by at least 37 women who say they were assaulted under the guise of treatment.

In the lawsuits, several victims said they had complained to others, including former MSU head gymnastics coach Kathie Klages, about Nassar but nothing was done. Among those were three young women who said they had complained to MSU officials, including a coach, trainers and sports staff in the late 1990s and early 2000s, according to the lawsuits.

One complainant was a teenager who was part of a Michigan youth program instructed by Klages in the late 1990s, according to a lawsuit filed last month. The teen was treated by Nassar for lower back pain and said the doctor fondled her several times from 1997 to 1999.

Nassar is facing federal and state charges. He is charged with possession of child porn, assaulting a girl at his home and destroying evidence. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is being held without bond at the Ingham County Jail.

The charges don’t involve his work at MSU, but police are investigating complaints they’ve received from 60 women.

In September, two gymnasts, including a member of the 2000 U.S. women’s Olympic team, said they were sexually abused by him when they were teens. He has denied it.

The “60 Minutes” segment is reported Dr. Jonathan LaPook and produced by Andy Court and Sarah Fitzpatrick. John Manly, the Califonia Attorney representing Howard, Antolin and dozens of others who say Nassar abused them, told “60 Minutes” he estimates Nassar abused “hundreds” of girls, including members of “every single Olympic team since 1996.”

ithibodeau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau