2 more lawsuits filed in Nassar scandal

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Larry Nassar

Attorneys for seven additional women said Thursday they have filed two new lawsuits against Larry Nassar, MIchigan State University and USA Gymnastics.

In one lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in a Harris County, Texas, district court, the International Federation of Gymnastics is also named as a plaintiff.

The other suit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan-Southern Division in Grand Rapids.

Attorneys and plaintiffs held a news conference Thursday in Houston to discuss the lawsuits. The women who filed the suits are represented by several law firms, including Abraham Watkins in Houston and White Law in Okemos.

In the complaint, the women allege the MSU and both gymnastics organizations failed to reveal Nassar's abuse to other victims to their families and authorities.

"He was the most prolific child molester in American history," said attorney James White, who represents about 50 of Nassar's victims. "He is the real life boogeyman."

Nassar is serving three prison sentences for molesting dozens of gymnasts and other girls and pleading guilty to having child pornography. His final sentence, 40-to-125 years, was handed down in February. 

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Earlier this month, Michigan permanently revoked Nassar's medical license.

Two of Nassar's accusers, Emily Vincent and Victoria Carlson, spoke at the news conference.


Vincent, 21, said she was 15 and a high school swimmer when she first met Nassar.

"It's hard to put into words what happened to me," she said as she choked back a sob at one point. "No 15-year-old should have to experience." 

Carlson said Nassar molested her when she was 15-year-old gymnast and went to him to be treated for a back injury.   

"I never wanted to go public about what happened to me," said Carlson, 21. "I didn't even want to tell my parents."

However, she said she was inspired by all of the victims who came forward and spoke during Nassar's trials.

Houston attorney Muhammad Aziz said he believes the Texas lawsuit is the first to name the International Federation of Gymnastics as a plaintiff in a Nassar-related case. He said the group, which is based in Switzerland, was named because "it emphatically placed these girls in Nassar's hands."

"As the governing body for gymnastics, the (federation) had a responsibility to protect these girls," he said.

He said because the organization is based in Europe, it has yet to be served with the lawsuit. 

Attorneys said Thursday they do not have a dollar amount in damages they're seeking.

At the news conference, White also blasted MSU for not making changes to protect young women in the wake of the Nassar scandal. He said the school has opted instead to attempt to minimize its role in the Nassar scandal.

"Michigan State has made what I would call cosmetic changes," White said. "There's been absolutely zero fundamental changes made to prevent another Larry Nassar."

"MSU needs leadership," he said. "(The past university president) failed miserably. Current president John Engler continues to fail miserably. The board of trustees has failed miserably. If any of these individuals had stepped up to the plate, I wouldn't be sitting her next to Emily. We have zero faith that leadership is in any position to stop a future Larry Nassar."