Dr. Larry Nassar pleads guilty to child pornography charges
Dr. Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to child pornography charges during a hearing Tuesday.
The former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics physician was arrested last year on the child pornography charges including:
- Receipt and attempted receipt of child pornography
- Possession of child pornography
- Destruction and concealment of records and tangible objects
Nassar agreed to plead guilty to all of those charges. As part of the plea agreement he will not be prosecuted for sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of children, as well as interstate or international travel with intent and engaging in illicit sexual conduct. Those charges were related to an incident which is alleged to have occurred in Nassar's swimming pool with two children in the summer of 2015.
A court document alleged that on Sept. 18, 2004 and Dec. 1, 2004, Nassar received child pornography that was sent to him over the Internet. The document says that between Feb. 6, 2003 and Sept, 20, 2016, Nassar was in possession of computer disks and electronic files that had thousands of images of child pornography. Some of the images allegedly included a minor who was younger than 12 years old, officials said.
By pleading guilty, Nassar admits he knowingly received child pornography, knew that the material was child pornography and that it had been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including a computer.
He appeared in federal court Tuesday morning to make the plea. He could face no less than 5 years and not more than 20 years in prison. He also could have to pay a $250,000 fine for each count.
View the plea agreement here:
Nassar bound over for trial on criminal sexual assault charges
In June, Nassar was bound over for trial on criminal sexual assault charges involving six alleged victims. Originally there were seven but one case was dismissed. Four of 12 first-degree CSC counts were for victims under 13 years old. The other eight counts were for victims aged 13-15 years old.
Nassar, 53, was under scrutiny after two gymnasts, including a member of the 2000 U.S. women's Olympic team, accused him of sexual abuse.
Nassar was accused of sexually abusing two former gymnasts -- a former Olympic medalist and a 31-year-old woman who now lives in Kentucky. Rachael Denhollander told an Indianapolis newspaper that Nassar sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years old during club gymnastics in Michigan.
Denhollander said the assault happened while her mother was in the room, but he would position her in such a way that her mother couldn't see what Nassar was doing.
Nassar faces more CSC charges
The allegations are separate from charges against Nassar of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan involving a child under 13. Three charges were filed against Nassar, according to online court records in Ingham County. The alleged incidents occurred in 1998. The records don't indicate whether the charges involve one victim or more.
Lawsuits pile up against Nassar
Additionally, lawyers for multiple women and girls told Michigan State University that they plan to sue the school over alleged sexual assaults by Nassar.
A notice was filed in the Michigan Court of Claims. It's a procedural step under state law. The letter accuses Nassar of "digital penetration" without proper notice "under the guise of providing care" at his office at Michigan State, from 1996 to 2015. Attorney Stephen Drew says most were gymnasts from across Michigan.
The notice says Michigan State didn't properly investigate complaints about Nassar. Messages seeking comment from Michigan State weren't immediately returned.
Nassar has denied wrongdoing. He was on the faculty at Michigan State University but was fired in September for not complying with "employment requirements" put in place after a 2014 investigation of alleged misconduct. MSU didn't elaborate.
USA Gymnastics, based in Indianapolis, cut its ties to Nassar in 2015.
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