Olympics

New Sex Abuse Allegations For Ex-USA Gymnastics Doctor

Plaintiff's attorney reportedly likened Dr. Larry Nassar to Penn State's Jerry Sandusky

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Dec 22, 2016 at 11:24 AM ET

Dr. Larry Nassar, the physician at the center of the worsening USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal, now faces new allegations contained in a lawsuit from a former Michigan State softball player who accuses him of abusing her “on over 10 occasions, under the guise of legitimate medical treatment.”

The plaintiff, Tiffany Thomas (Lopez), enrolled at Michigan State—where Nassar also worked until he was fired in September—in 1998 and claimed in the lawsuit that, “upon reporting the sexual abuse by Nassar to the highest ranking employees within MSU’s training staff in or around 2000, the plaintiff was intimidated, coerced, and threatened by high-ranking MSU training staff and told she was not sexually abused by Nassar and not to make such allegations.”

NBC News reports that Nassar is now named in at least three lawsuits and more than 60 police complaints.

“The more it goes on, the more it starts to feel like a Sandusky situation,” Thomas’ lawyer, John Manly, told NBC in reference to former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is currently serving a 30-to-60 year sentence for molesting 10 boys.

Nassar has pleaded not guilty to all charges but is being held without bond after a hearing in which an FBI agent testified that at least 37,000 images and videos of child pornography were found in his home. A federal magistrate called the doctor the “worst” kind of danger, according to the Associated Press.

A spokesman for Michigan State, which is also named as a defendant in Lopez’s complaint, told the Lansing State Journal that the university had not yet been served with the suit.

“I can tell you we take allegations of sexual abuse very seriously,” spokesman Jason Cody said. “Our police, the lead investigative agency in the Nassar case, are devoting significant resources to the criminal investigation against him and are vigorously reviewing all complaints and working through them with the state Attorney General’s office and federal U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

The university has reportedly said it investigated and cleared Nassar in 2014 after an allegation of misconduct with local prosecutors declining to charge him. USA Gymnastics dismissed Nassar in 2015 after learning of “athlete concerns,” according to a statement given to the Indianapolis Star; Nassar’s attorney denied that claim, saying his client retired.

According to a release from Manly’s law firm, 15 alleged victims of Nassar have filed a notice of intent to file claims against MSU; Thomas is the first former Michigan State student to file a suit.