Nassar transferred to a holdover prison after assault

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Larry Nassar  has been moved from the federal penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona, and is likely being transferred to another federal prison in the wake of being assaulted, experts said.

Larry Nassar

On Sunday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons website showed that Nassar is no longer at the high security prison in Tucson, six months after he was first housed there. He is now at Oklahoma Federal Transfer Center, a holdover facility.

The move comes after The Detroit News first reported that his lawyers said in court filings that he was assaulted in late May within hours of being released into the general population at the Arizona prison.

Nassar's attorney, Malaika Ramsey-Heath of the State Appellate Defender Office in Detroit, could not immediately be reached.

Ralph Miller, a retired Bureau of Prisons employee who specialized in sex offender designations in the Designation and Sentence Computation Center, said the transfer is likely due to Nassar being assaulted at Tucson, and an investigation showing he could not be safely housed there due to an identified threat.

"After a thorough review of the investigation and his case, the Bureau of Prisons will designate a facility that they believe he will be able to enter the general population," Miller said.  "Part of the mission of the Bureau of Prisons is to house inmates in facilities that are safe." 

He predicted Nassar could be transferred to another high security prison, either USP Coleman II in Sumterville, Florida, or to USP Terre Haute in Indiana.  

"While those facilities are not designed to house a larger percentage of sex offenders like (the Tucson prison), they do house a higher percentage than the other high security facilities and also house inmates that have not been able to be safely housed in the mainstream high security facilities, such as individuals who have cooperated with the government, inmates who are in bad standing with their gangs," Miller said.  

He added that it is possible the Bureau of Prisons could place Nassar in a medium security facility, but it is more likely that he will be transferred to another high security facility where he may be able to enter the general population.  

"This is a difficult case for the Bureau of Prisons in that Nassar's case is highly publicized and he will be known to the inmate population no matter which facility is selected," Miller said. "Due to this, the Bureau of Prisons is likely to utilize all available high security facilities prior to reviewing him for placement in a medium with in excess of 30 years to still be served."  

Nassar, a former doctor for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics who treated many of the nation's Olympic gymnasts, was incarcerated in USP Tucson in February after he pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual misconduct and possessing hordes of child pornography. Judges gave him three consecutive prison sentences that translate into a de facto life term.

He is serving a 60-year federal sentence and waging an appeal on all three sentences, seeking to reduce his time and have the prison terms run concurrently.