Former Michigan State athletic doctor and former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar has already been accused of inappropriate actions in his role with Team USA. Allegations are also coming out regarding his treatment of athletes at Michigan State.
Tiffany Lopez, a former softball player with the Spartans, has filed a lawsuit in California claiming that she was sexually abused by Nassar and that the school failed to act when approached by Lopez.
Lopez, whose last name was Thomas when the alleged abuse occurred, says the inappropriate actions started taking place during her freshman year at Michigan State.
Starting in 1998, Lopez alleges, Nassar sexually abused her during medical exams and continued to do so more than 10 times over a period of three years. The lawsuit alleges that Nassar used a treatment he called “inter-vaginal adjustments” on Lopez.
“The Plaintiff, approximately 18 years old at the time, had a visit with Nassar where he touched her vagina,” the lawsuit states, “in order to purportedly heal back pain she was having, under the guise of legitimate medical treatment. The Plaintiff complained to a trainer on her softball team who responded by saying Nassar was a world-renowned doctor, and that it was legitimate medical treatment.
“As the purported treatments continued, Nassar became more bold, having the Plaintiff remove her pants, and then inserting his bare, ungloved and unlubricated hand into her vagina.”
These instances resulted in Lopez approaching the school, where she wasn’t greeted well by the school.
According to the lawsuit, “Upon reporting her sexual abuse by Nassar to the highest ranking employees within MSU’s training staff, in or around 2000, the Plaintiff was intimidated, coerced, and threatened by high-ranking MSU training staff and told that she was not sexually abused by Nassar and not to make such allegations.”
Lopez alleges that, when she refused to continue receiving treatment from Nassar in 2001, MSU pressured her to declare herself medically inactive as an athlete. Shortly after, she left Michigan State to return home to California. She currently lives in Los Angeles County.
“They told me he was a world-renowned physician. What they did not tell me is that he was a serial molester and pedophile,” Lopez said at the news conference, “I feel guilty. Not because I did anything wrong, but because I was not able to come forward sooner to help other girls.”
The reports regarding Nassar’s abuse have been lengthy and detailed, with instances occurring while he was working with the USA gymnasts and Michigan State athletes. Thus far, the school’s only response has been to fire Nassar.
These allegations are already bad enough for Nassar. But if it’s true that the schools failed to act when informed of this information, it could result in some major punishments (see Baylor and Penn State).