High profile gymnasts come forward, claim abuse by doctor

21 February, 2017, 00:56 | Author: Felix Jensen

Three former stars of the US national women's gymnastics team said Dr. Lawrence Nassar, the team physician now charged with child sex crimes, worked hard to win their trust - so they didn't believe at first that his alleged abuse was wrong.

NEW YORK (AP) - Three former elite US gymnasts, including 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, have come forward saying they were sexually abused by a former doctor now facing trial on a separate matter. Separately, more than 60 former patients have also filed police complaints alleging that Nassar, a sports medicine doctor, molested them under the guise of pelvic procedures.

"He would put his fingers inside of me, move my leg around", Dantzscher said. "He would tell me I was going to feel a pop and that that would put my hips back and help my back pain", Dantzscher said.

Nasser, who has been accused of assaulting dozens of women and girls, also faces three federal charges for child pornography and civil suits. She says he rubbed his genitals on her and digitally penetrated her, among other things. Nassar's attorney defends the treatment as legitimate. And he had asked me not to wear any underwear.

Jamie Dantzscher, a member of the US national team from 1994 to 2001, said she started receiving treatment from Nassar around 1995.

When USA Gymnastics first received a report of "an athlete's concern" from a coach, the organization notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Among the lawsuits being filed against Nassar say the alleged victims did report the incidents to multiple positions of authorities - MSU officials, team staffers, police and even Klages.

The governing body for gymnastics in the United States said Sunday that results from an independent review of it bylaws and policies is expected by the end of June after its longtime doctor Larry Nassar was charged with criminal sexual conduct and possessing child pornography. Several gymnasts said TheStar's coverage emboldened them to bring sexual abuse allegations against Nassar, and two former gymnasts told their story in detail to The Star in September. "You don't complain about treatment".

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Another former gymnast, Jeanette Antolin, said Nassar would sneak them snacks and candy while they stuck to strict diets for their training.

A woman says Michigan State's women's gymnastics coach downplayed her concerns about treatments by a sports doctor in the late 1990s and warned that a formal complaint about sexual abuse could have major consequences. His alleged abuse is said to have spanned years.

Nassar had been employed at Michigan State since 1997 up until being fired this past September.

Klages lawyer said she never heard any allegations against Nassar and that if she had, she would have reacted immediately.

Nassar also treated girls in their bedrooms at Karolyi ranch, an elite training camp in Texas, said Jeannette Antolin, who competed with the national team from 1995 to 2000. He pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him in MI, and maintains that the procedures he performed on the gymnasts were legitimate.

Antolin agreed. "He was someone that we would talk to when we were getting treatment, if we had a hard day", she said, "He was a listening ear. I admire the courage of the young women who had to relive her terrifying experience and I am grateful that Judge Allen bound over Dr. Nassar on these extremely serious charges".

Donnelly and Feinstein are among a group of lawmakers who have demanded answers from USA Gymnastics.

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