Civil rights lawsuit filed against Nassar, sporting institutions

Lawsuit alleges abuse; also charges negligence, fraud

A 20-year-old woman has filed a civil rights lawsuit against former sports physician Larry Nassar, the International Federation of Gymnastics, USA Gymnastics, and World Sport Chicago alleging negligence and fraud.

Attorneys representing Jane Doe said, in a release, that the lawsuit is "seeking to hold Nassar and the named sporting institutions accountable for years of continued sexual assault of hundreds of USA Gymnastics members without any institutional intervention, despite repeated complaints from the athletes about Nassar's conduct."

The complaint was filed Thursday in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Illinois. In part, it alleges unlawful sexual assault, including charges of negligence and fraud.

READ: Nassar abuse trial

Imprisoned former sports doctor Larry Nassar previously pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting young athletes including some girls under the age of 13.

More than 150 victims gave victim impact statements during a sentencing hearing in Ingham County, where Nassar was given a 40 to 175 year prison sentence.

Nassar also faced charges in Eaton County. He pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 40 to 125 years, which he is serving concurrently with the Ingham County sentence.

The complaint alleges that Jane Doe was a member of USAG from 2004 to 2017, and a U.S. national team member from 2013 to 2016.

She allegedly began receiving treatment from Nassar when she was directed by the national team coordinator and athletic trainer.

According to the complaint the alleged abuse first happened in 2013 at a national team camp Jane Doe attended in the fall. This was allegedly the first of many separate 'treatments', over 40, where she says she was sexually assaulted by Nassar. Jane Doe stopped receiving treatment in early 2015.

"At all relevant times, Plaintiff was a minor at the time and unable to consent to any sexual activity," states the complaint.

In August 2016, The Indianapolis Star published a story reporting how USA Gymnastics had for years failed to tell police or proper authorities about allegations of sexual abuse against its coaches.

That investigation led to a major expose and then to an email from Rachael Denhollander, one of Nassar's victims. She came forward publicly shortly after.

Rachael DenHollander speaks at Larry Nassar sentencing on January 24, 2018.

Jane Doe alleges she was sexually assaulted by Nassar at a Chicago area competition in 2014, which was hosted by World Sport Chicago. It accuses World Sport Chicago, USAG and the International Federation of Gymnastics of failing to provide for "the supervision, care and physical safety of its athletes."

"Defendants USAG, World Sport Chicago and FIG held Defendant Nassar in high esteem and acclaim which in turn encouraged Plaintiff and others to respect and trust Defendant Nassar and seek out his services and to not question his methods or motives."

The complaint alleges that Nassar told Jane Doe:

  • What he was doing was "treatment."
  • His acts were "normal."
  • Made a statement to Jane Doe that she was "not to worry because [the treatment] would take [her] pain away."
  • Told Jane Doe that giving her prescription muscle relaxers prior to treatment would help treatments work better.

The entire complaint is available below:

 

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