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Athlete A: Who is Larry Nassar? What happened to the former gymnast doctor

Nassar was accused of assaulting over 250 gymnasts.

Larry Nassar
Getty Images
Published: Wednesday, 24th June 2020 at 10:59 am

Netflix's new documentary Athlete A details the horrific abuse suffered by young US gymnasts at the hands of team doctor Larry Nassar.


The film looks at the Indianapolis Star's investigation into USA Gymnastic's cover-up of abuse allegations and the hundreds of accusations made towards Nassar which happened as a result.

Here's a run-down of Nassar and the complex timeline of abuse.

Who is Larry Nassar?

Larry Nassar is the former USA Gymnastics team doctor and physician at Michigan State University who was convicted of sexually assaulting over 250 young women and girls dating back to 1992.

The 56-year-old began working as an athletic trainer and a physician for USA Gymnastics in 1986, and received his osteopathic medical degree from Michigan State University seven years later.

He served as the national medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics from 1996 until 2014, and would medically examine young gymnasts at the Karolyi Ranch in Texas – the national team training camps ran by Béla and Márta Károlyi where no parents were allowed. It was here that Nassar was able to take advantage of his victims.

He also became the gymnastics team physician at Michigan State University in 1997, where he also reportedly sexually abused a number of gymnasts and students seeking treatment for muscle injuries.

Nassar was married to Stephanie Nassar, however she filed for divorce following his arrest in January 2017.

In July 2017, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges and in January 2018, he received a sentence of up to 175 years in a Michigan state prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of minors.

What was Nassar convicted of?

According to the lawsuits filed against Nassar, the physician began sexually abusing one gymnast in 1994, two years before he was appointed as the national medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics.

In 1997, one parent voiced their concerns to American gymnastics coach John Geddert about Nassar's conduct, but Geddert failed to tell the police, a 2017 lawsuit alleged.

A year later, Nassar began sexually abusing a family friend's six-year-old daughter, according to court records.

In 2000, a second student athlete at Michigan State University reported concerns about Nassar's conduct. The same year, Nassar began sexually abusing gymnast Rachael Denhollander during treatment for her back pain when she was 15.

Four years later, Nassar solicited images of child sexual abuse, according to a 2016 federal indictment.

In 2014, Michigan State graduate Amanda Thomashow tells the director of MSU Sports Medicine Clinic Dr Jeff Kovan that Nassar sexually assaulted her during a medical examination to treat a hip injury. However, the university clears Nassar of any misconduct and does not pass any information to prosecutors until July 2015.

In August 2016, Nassar faced further sexual assault allegations and was fired by MSU after The Indianpolis Star published their ongoing investigation into sexual abuse within USA Gymnastics. The following October, the Michigan Attorney General's office decided to review possible criminal allegations against Nassar.

The same month, a 24-year-old former gymnast filed a lawsuit against Nassar, accusing him of longtime sexual abuse from 2006 until 2011. The gymnast also accuses Bela and Marta Karolysis – USA Gymnastic's coaches – of abusive behaviour.

Shortly afterwards, the Indianapolis Star published interview with Rachael Denhollander and an unnamed Olympic medal-winning gymnast accusing Nassar of assault.

In November 2016, Nassar was charged with criminal sexual conduct against a child. Three extra charges were filed about an incident which occurred in 1998. The same month, 13 women sued Michigan State over Nassar's assaults.

In December, Nassar was charged with possessing child porn and a few days later, another lawsuit was filed against Nassar by a former MSU student, alleging that Nassar abused them.

In January 2017, another woman alleged that she complained to Michigan State's women's gymnastics coach but the coach downplayed her concerns in the late 1990s.

Rachael Denhollander in ATHLETE A
Rachael Denhollander in Athlete A

A month later, Nassar stood trial on the child sex abuse charges and faced 22 additional counts of criminal sexual conduct.

In March 2017, more defendants were added to the Nassar lawsuit, including two former and current MSU employees, while 20 women were added to suit against Nassar, MSU and USA Gymnastics. The same month, MSU investigation found that Nassar assaulted a teen gymnast during treatments for back pain in 2000.

In April 2017, Nassar's licence was revoked for three years and he was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine. Nassar plead guilty to charges of soliciting images of child sex abuse in July.

In October 2017, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney alleged that she was sexually abused by Nassar from the age of 13, and a month later, other Olympic medallists Aly Raisman and Gaby Douglas also came forward to say they were victims of Nassar.

On October 22nd, Nassar's survivors spoke out in press conference after his plea hearing, calling him a "master manipulator".

In December, Nassar was given 60 years in federal prison for child porn crimes and a month later, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles came forward to allege that Nassar also sexually abused her.

After a number of Nassar's victims spoke during his court hearing, the former physician was sentenced to 40 - 125 years in Eaton County prison.

Where is Larry Nassar now?

Larry Nassar is currently serving his 125 year prison sentence at the Coleman II US Penitentiary in Florida.

According to the Washington Post, he was transferred there after being physically assaulted in his former prison based in Tucson, Arizona.


Athlete A will be available to stream on Netflix from Wednesday 24th June. Check out our lists of the best TV shows on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide.


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