For decades, Larry Nassar was entrusted with the care of young athletes, notably as a trainer with USA Gymnastics (USAG) and Michigan State University (MSU). In 2019 a list of women have came forward with graphic accounts alleging he violated that trust by sexually abusing them under the guise of medical treatment. Nassar, who attended the Summer Olympics with USA Gymnastics from 1996 through 2008, was found guilty of possession of child pornography and criminal sexual assault, with a civil suit still pending. In its wake, Michigan State agreed to pay $500 million to survivors of Nassar’s abuse.
The facade of decency surrounding Nassar, one maintained in part by institutions like USAG and MSU, which missed or outright disregarded multiple opportunities to investigate claims of misconduct, began to fall apart in late 2016 when the Indianapolis Star published a piece on USAG’s mishandling of allegations of sexual abuse by coaches.
In the months that followed, more than 140 women, including prominent Olympic medal-winning gymnasts such as Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles, would share harrowing accounts describing abuse, or file lawsuits against Nassar and the institutions that they say enabled him for so many years.
Below is a timeline of key dates from Nassar’s career with USAG and MSU, the allegations against him, the accounts of alleged abuse shared by prominent athletes, and the ongoing court cases. We’ve used the real names of victims who have identified themselves.
This timeline will be updated with new developments and as more information becomes available.
- Larry Nassar joins the medical staff of USA Gymnastics as an athletic trainer.
- While still a medical student at Michigan State, Nassar assaults a 12-year-old girl under the guise of medical research, according to a lawsuit joined by the woman in 2017. The alleged assaults took place at a gymnastics facility near Lansing as well as Nassar’s apartment.
- Nassar receives osteopathic medical degree from Michigan State University.
- Nassar is named gymnastics team physician and assistant professor at Michigan State University.
- A parent complains to Geddert about Nassar’s medical treatments, according to a lawsuit filed in 2017. The lawsuit states that Geddert failed to investigate the allegations and continued to recommend Nassar as a doctor to athletes.
- Larissa Boyce, a 16-year-old high school student in Williamston, Mich., sees Nassar for treatment after injuring her back at an MSU youth gymnastics program. According to her account shared with the Detroit News in January 2018, she was abused by Nassar during treatment. She recalls telling a coach, who then instructed her to tell Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages.
“She just couldn’t believe that was happening,” said Boyce, now 37. “She said I must be misunderstanding what was going on.”
- Nassar abuses Kyle Stephens, the 6-year-old daughter of a friend, according to court documents. In a 2018 Victim Impact Statement, Stephens details abuse that went on for years and says that Nassar convinced her parents to disregard her earlier accounts.
- Michigan State softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez tells three university athletic trainers and one staff member that Nassar was sexually inappropriate during medical treatments, according to her statements to MLive. According to her 2016 lawsuit, Lopez says she was told that “she was fortunate to receive the best medical care possible from a world-renowned doctor.”
- USA Gymnastics member Rachael Denhollander alleges being sexually assaulted by Nassar while receiving treatment for lower back pain. She was 15 years old at the time.
- Nassar attends the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney as the U.S. women’s artistic gymnastics team physician.
- Nassar solicited and received child pornography, according to an unsealed 2016 federal indictment.
- A 17-year-old visits Nassar for treatment for scoliosis. After Nassar abuses the young woman during the visit, she and her mother report the incident to the Meridian Township Police Department. Nassar defends his actions to police as valid medical treatment, using a PowerPoint presentation as supporting evidence. No charges are made. A redacted police report related to the incident was released on Jan. 30, 2017.
- Nassar attends the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, once again as the U.S. women’s artistic gymnastics team physician.
Aug. 4, 2016
Aug. 5, 2016
- The United States Senate writes a letter to USAG president and CEO Steve Penny expressing its concern over the Indianapolis Star report and urging USAG to take immediate steps to report the complaints received and install future safeguards.
“The report details failures by USA Gymnastics to alert authorities of sex abuse allegations against several coaches, despite being notified of serious allegations on numerous occasions. Some allegations were allowed to linger for years before any action was taken, leaving young victims in the supervision of sexual predators.”
Aug. 29, 2016
Aug. 30, 2016
Sept. 8, 2016
The first-known accuser files a civil suit against Nassar, alleging abuse from 1994-2000.
Sept. 12, 2016
- Denhollander and an unnamed Olympic medal-winning gymnast speak with the Indianapolis Star to tell their stories and allegations of abuse by Nassar while competing.
- In response to the Indy Star story, USAG issues a statement indicating that Nassar was “relieved of his duties” in 2015:
Immediately after learning of athlete concerns about Dr. Nassar in the summer of 2015, Steve Penny, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, notified law enforcement. We also relieved Dr. Nassar of his duties, and he ceased to be affiliated with USA Gymnastics. USA Gymnastics has cooperated fully with the law enforcement agency since we first notified them of the matter, including – at their request – refraining from making further statements or taking any other action that might interfere with the agency’s investigation. We are grateful to the athletes for coming forward to share their concerns when they did.
Shortly after the USAG statement, Nassar’s lawyer issued a response to the Indy Star indicating that his client was never “relieved of his duties,” but that he retired.
Sept. 20, 2016
“Over the past week, the university received additional information that raised serious concerns about Nassar’s compliance with certain employment requirements.”
Nov. 22, 2016
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Schuette said, via the Lansing State Journal.
Dec. 16, 2016
Jan. 10, 2017
Jan. 24, 2017
Feb. 3, 2017
- In a “Letter to the Spartan Community,” Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon outlines the school’s version of events, saying, “MSU has taken a proactive approach to responding to this situation.”
Feb. 13, 2017
Feb. 22, 2017
- Nassar faces an additional 22 charges of sexual assault. The first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges relate to Nassar’s work at Michigan State University’s Sports Medicine clinic and Twistars Gymnastics Club. The total number of complaints is now more than 80.
“This guy is a monster,” says Michigan AG Bill Schuette during a press conference, via the Lansing State Journal.
April 13, 2017
- Simon updates Michigan State’s board of trustees on the investigation, saying:
“I have been told it is virtually impossible to stop a determined sexual predator and pedophile, that they will go to incomprehensible lengths to keep what they do in the shadows. That may be true, but we at MSU must do all we can not only to ensure the safety of our patients but to protect youth who come to our campus in all capacities. As part of a broader programmatic effort that began in 2013, we recently held a workshop for all MSU youth program directors that focused on promoting the safety of minors at MSU, and we will roll out an enhanced youth protection policy and additional education within the next 30 days.”
June 30, 2017
July 11, 2017
Oct. 18, 2017
Nov. 10, 2017
Nov. 20, 2017
Nov. 21, 2017
Nov. 29, 2017
Dec. 7, 2017
Dec. 20, 2017
Jan. 10, 2018
Jan. 15, 2018
Jan. 16-24, 2018
- 156 women read Victim Impact Statements during a eight-day sentencing hearing for Nassar in Ingham County Circuit Court in Michigan. Kyle Stephens opened the testimony with a powerful account of abuse by Nassar beginning in 1998 when she was 6 years old:
“You used my body for six years, for your own sexual gratification. That is unforgivable. I’ve been coming for you for a long time. I told counselors your name in the hopes they would report you. I have reported you to child protective services twice. I gave a testament to get your medical license revoked. You were first arrested on my charges, and now, as the only non-medical victim to come forward, I testify to let the world know that you are a repulsive liar. And that those “treatments” were pathetically veiled sexual abuse. Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.”
Jan. 19, 2018
- Michigan State’s Board of Trustees sends a letter to AG Bill Schuette requesting an investigation of the university’s handling of the allegations against Nassar.
“After watching many of these heartbreaking statements and reading accounts about them, we have concluded that only a review by your office can resolve the questions in a way that the victims, their families, and the public will deem satisfactory and that will help all those affected by Nassar’s horrible crimes to heal.”
“Through this terrible situation, the university has been perceived as tone deaf, unresponsive and insensitive to the victims. We understand the public’s faith has been shaken. The Board has listened and heard the victims. Today, the Board acted and has asked the Attorney General’s Office to review the facts in this matter, and as information is presented, the Board will act. This can never happen again. As part of the Board’s oversight authority, we will retain independent external assistance to support our responsibilities to the university community and the public at large. We continue to believe President Simon is the right leader for the university and she has our support.”
Jan. 22, 2018
“USA Gymnastics thanks Paul Parilla, Jay Binder and Bitsy Kelley for their many years of service to this organization. We support their decisions to resign at this time. We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization.
As the board identifies its next chair and fills the vacant board positions, we remain focused on working every day to ensure that our culture, policies and actions reflect our commitment to those we serve.”
”John Geddert has been suspended under the interim measures provisions of Section 10.5 of USA Gymnastics’ Bylaws. USA Gymnastics is unable to comment further as this is a pending matter.”
The bylaw under which Geddert is being suspended gives USAG the right to suspend members to “ensure the safety and well-being of the gymnastics community or where an allegation is sufficiently serious that an Adverse Party’s continued participation could be detrimental to the sport or its reputation.”
Jan. 24, 2018
- Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentences Larry Nassar to 40-to-175 years in prison on seven counts of criminal sexual assault. During sentencing Judge Aquilina states that her sentence will begin after Nassar completed his 60-year federal sentence for child pornography, saying:
“I find that you don’t get it. That you are a danger. You remain a danger. I am a judge who believes in life and rehabilitation, when rehabilitation is possible. I have many defendants come back and show me the great things they’ve done in their lives after probation, after parole. I don’t find that’s possible with you.”
- The U.S. Olympic Committee publishes an open letter to its athletes outlining four next steps — including a turnover of leadership in USA Gymnastics — to be taken in the aftermath of the Nassar case.
We Must Change the Culture of the Sport
We Must Change the Governance Structure of the NGB
We Must Know Who Knew What and When
We Must Support Safe Sport Victims and Survivors
Read the full USOC letter HERE.
- MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon resigns from her position hours after the Nassar sentencing hearing is completed. The resignation comes amid growing calls for her to step down.
As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger. I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements. Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first. Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU. I have tried to make it not about me. I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement.
Read her full resignation letter HERE.
Jan. 25, 2018
- U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scot Blackmun writes a letter to USAG indicating that it will be decertified as the sport’s national governing body if it fails to meet six conditions by specified dates. Prominent among the conditions is the resignation by the USAG board of directors by Jan. 31.
“We do not base these requirements on any knowledge that any individual USAG staff or board members had a role in fostering or obscuring Nassar’s actions,” Blackmun write. “Our position comes from a clear sense that USAG culture needs fundamental rebuilding.”
Read the full USOC letter HERE.
In a statement posted to its website along with a copy of the USOC letter, USAG indicates that it “completely embraces the requirements.”
Jan. 26, 2018
- Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis announces his retirement. He had been MSU’s AD since January 2008. In a statement, he expresses his willingness to cooperate with ongoing investigations.
“Our campus, and beyond, has been attacked by evil, an individual who broke trust and so much more. As a campus community, we must do everything we can to ensure this never happens again; to make sure any sexual assault never occurs. But to do so, we must listen and learn lessons. Only then can we truly begin the process of healing. I have tried to do this since first learning about the abuse in September 2016.”
Read the complete statement HERE.
Jan. 31, 2018
We are in the process of moving forward with forming an interim Board of Directors during the month of February, in accordance with the USOC’s requirements. USA Gymnastics will provide information about this process within the next few days.
USA Gymnastics embraces not only the changes necessary as called for by the USOC and the Deborah Daniels report, but we also will hold the organization to the highest standards of care and safety in further developing a culture of empowerment for our athletes and members.
Read the complete statement HERE.
- Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees unanimously votes to appoint former Michigan Governor John Engler as interim president of the university. Engler, an MSU graduate, will assume his duties Feb. 5.
“As the father of three daughters who just completed their undergraduate degrees, I put myself in the place of every parent who has sent their loved one to this great institution,” Engler said in a statement releaed by MSU. “I understand the concern and uncertainty as well as the frustration and anger. To those parents, be assured that I will move forward as if my own daughters were on this campus and will treat every student as I would my own daughters.”
Read MSU’s complete announcement HERE.
Feb. 5, 2018
Feb. 28, 2018
- Scott Blackmun announces his resignation as CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The 60-year-old, who did not attend the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea with Team USA, cited health problems as the reason for his departure. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January.
- The USOC announces new reforms and initiatives in response to abuses of Larry Nassar, including providing funding and resources for support and counseling for gymnasts impacted.
Read complete USOC announcement HERE.
Mar. 27, 2018
- William Strampel, Nassar’s former boss and former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State is arrested for felony misconduct in office and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, along with two counts of willful neglect of duty. Court affidavits outline how he groped and harrassed students, possessed pornography containing images of students and reported details to Nassar during the school’s Title IX investigation into him in 2014.
Apr. 13, 2018
- A Nassar survivor spoke at a Michigan State University board meeting and outlined how interim president, former governor John Engler, attempted to coerce her to take a settlement and drop he civil case against the school. In addition, the survivor alleges that Engler lied to her about Rachel Denhollander accepting a buyout.
Gasps and outrage in the board room today when a Nassar survivor describes in great detail how she says MSU Interim President John Engler attempted to coerce her into settling her case against the university. @FOX2News Listen: pic.twitter.com/GiAbpR1S8f
— Kellie Rowe (@kellierowe) April 13, 2018
May 1, 2018
May 16, 2018
June 29, 2018
- Former USA Gymnastics director of sports medicine services Debbie Van Horn was indicted along with Nassar in Texas for what Walker County assistant attorney Stephanie Stroud called, “a total failure by USAG to protect the athletes that were part of their program and to take appropriate action once they were made aware of Dr. Nassar’s actions.”
No charges were brought for any other USAG officials, and no evidence of criminal wrongdoing was found against former team directors Bela and Martha Karolyi. “It’s good that they’re holding more people accountable but they’re not holding accountable the people who are really responsible for what Larry did to us and that’s the Karolyis,” said former USA gymnast Jeanette Antolin, one of Nassar’s victims.
August 23, 2018
October 18, 2018
November 20, 2018
- Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon is charged with lying to state police during a probe into Larry Nassar. Simon was asked in May is she was aware Nassar was being investigated in 2016, to which charges claim she responded saying she knew a sports physician was being investigated — but not who. New documents purport to show that Simon was aware is was Nassar who was under investigation.
December 5, 2018
- USA Gymnastics files for bankruptcy in the wake of USOC deciding to vote for decertifying the group, as well as outstanding civil lawsuits that have yet to be resolves. A lawyer representing 180 survivors issued a statement saying:
“The leadership of USA Gymnastics has proven itself to be both morally and financially bankrupt,” Manly added. “They have inflicted and continue to inflict unimaginable pain on survivors and their families.”
December 21, 2018
- A Michigan attorney general’s report reveals Michigan State staffers may have been aware of complaints about Nassar, but failed to report concerns to administrative staff or USA Gymnastics.
BREAKING: new Michigan AG report on MSU investigation reveals many more MSU staff, athletic trainers, and doctors were told of concerns surrounding Nassar, failed to report
— Kate Wells (@KateLouiseWells) December 21, 2018
January 16, 2019
July 31, 2019
February 25, 2021
- John Geddert face a vast array of charges stemming from his involvement in the numerous crimes over the years. He was charged with 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor, one count of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault, racketeering, and lying to police. Geddert died of suicide on Thursday, with his death being investigated. The court and lawyers did not believe he was a threat at the time.