How did a world-renowned and one of the most sought after gymnastic physicians become public enemy number 1? Larry Nassar made the headlines in 2016 after several girls and women came forward alleging that he had sexually abused them while they were underage. Most of them were former Olympic champions adding further to the scrutiny of the paedophile doctor. Find his entire life story and how his world came crashing down here.
He was famous for his techniques in curing young girls who had injuries in gymnastics. However, his entire life's work came into question after more than 300 women accused him of molesting them while they were underage.
Larry Nassar's profile and bio
- Birth name: Lawrence Gerard Nassar
- Date of birth: August 16, 1963
- Larry Nassar's age: 58 years
- Place of birth: Farmington Hills, Michigan, US
- Larry Nassar's education: University of Michigan (BS), Michigan State University (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)
- Occupation: Osteopathic physician, professor
- Years active: 1978–2016
- Larry Nassar's spouse: Stefanie Nassar
- Larry Nassar's daughters: 2
- Larry Nassar's son: 1
- Organization: USA Gymnastics
- Federal criminal charges: Receiving child pornography, possession of child pornography, tampering with evidence
- State criminal charges: First-degree criminal sexual conduct (10 counts in two counties)
- Penalty: De facto life without parole as his earliest release date given his multiple sentences means that it would be at an age where it is guaranteed he will be dead.
- Federal: 60 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release
- State (Ingham County): 40 to 175 years in prison
- State (Eaton County): 40 to 125 years in prison
- Larry Nassar's nationality: United States
- Imprisoned at: United States Penitentiary, Coleman II
Early life and education
Lawrence was born in Farmington Hills, Michigan, to a family with roots in Lebanon. His elder brother, Mike, suggested that Nassar should work as a student trainer for women gymnastics at North Farmington High School when he was just 15.
He proceeded to graduate from that same school in 1981, earning a varsity high school letter in women's artistic gymnastics. After that, Larry proceeded to study kinesiology at the University of Michigan. He graduated in 1985 after doing work for the university's football and track and field programs.
Career in gymnastics and medicine
In 1986, after graduating from university, he joined the USA Gymnastics national team medical staff as an athletic trainer. In the late 80's, he also worked as a trainer at Wayne State University while pursuing a masters degree.
He, however, left and joined Michigan State University after getting an acceptance letter. He graduated from MSU in 1993 with an osteopathic medical degree and joined St.Lawrence Hospital for his residency. In 1996, he joined Holt Highschool as a team doctor and was appointed as the medical coordinator for USA gymnastics. He accompanied the gymnastics teams to the Olympic games.
In 1997, he became an assistant professor and team physician at Michigan State University, and he was making upwards of $100,000. Since 1988, he worked with the Gedderts at Twistars USA gymnastics club, and in 1997, one of the parents of the gymnasts raised concerns about Nassar's conduct with his daughter, but it was never reported to the police.
Larry Nassar's scandal
Larry was very renowned for his healing of athletes with all types of injuries and worked with the most elite competitors at 4 Olympic games. He was well admired and trusted as he built his reputation as one of the best gymnastics physicians in the world. He had a networth of $1 million before his incarceration.
Not only was he known worldwide for his skills as a doctor, but he was involved as a leader in his community. Larry Nassar's religion is catholic, and he taught Sunday school at the local church in Michigan. He also founded a charity to introduce children with disabilities to gymnastics. So, where did it all go wrong?
End of a career
In September 2016, Rachel Denhollander, 32, accused Nassar of sexually assaulting her in 2000 when she was only 15 years old and getting checked for pain in her lower back.
Surprisingly, this was not the first time he was accused of sexual assault; all accusations prior to this were swept under the rug. However, the rise of the #MeToo movement and women standing together against predatory men in power is what eventually brought Larry Nassar's career to an end and was the start of one of the largest sports scandals worldwide.
Day in court
Rachel's accusations gained momentum, and so many of the girls and women who had suffered his abuse spoke up. From the brave victims who spoke out, it was determined that one of the earliest abuses that was reported was in 1992. Another shocking discovery was the sexual abuse of a 6-year-old daughter of a family friend back in 1998. Since that time, Larry Nassar has abused more than 300 girls.
Nassar frequently molested young girls when their parents were in the room by using a draped towel or a practice positioning to conceal where he was placing his fingers. The girls were young and did not know that he was being inappropriate.
The police also uncovered that Larry Nassar owned child pornography from 2003 until his day in court in 2016, adding more incriminating evidence to the case against him. His prison sentence is so long that the judge reading the verdict said that she is signing his death warrant (because it is unlikely that he will leave prison alive). His two sentences from different counties are 40 - 175 years and 40 - 125 years.
Larry Nassar's family
Larry Nassar was married to Stefanie from October 19 1996, till 2017, when she filed for divorce. She left him after his case came to light. She was granted the divorce in just 6 months and given full custody of Larry Nassar's children, two daughters and one son.
Latest news about Larry Nassar (2021)
This case has come into the limelight once more in September 2021 following the testimony of 4 Olympic gymnasts. The gymnasts are testifying against the FBI handling of the Nassar case with McKayla Maroney alleging that the FBI agent who handled her case falsified her statements and wrongly concluded that she was lying.
The Larry Nassar case exemplifies how turning a deaf ear to children can lead to disastrous outcomes. To find out more about Larry Nassar, there is a Netflix documentary about him called Athlete A.
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