Larry Nassar and former USA Gymnastics trainer indicted in Texas
Larry Nassar, the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics, and former USA Gymnastics trainer Deborah Van Horn were indicted in Texas Friday on charges of sexual assault of a child at the Karolyi Ranch, where for decades numerous Olympians have trained.
Walker County prosecutors’ did not file any charges against training center owners and famed gymnastic coaches Martha and Bela Karolyi — a decision blasted by a lawyer representing gymnasts sexually abused by Nassar.
“Placing all of the blame on USAG and none on the Karolyis is a whitewash,” attorney John Manly said in a statement sent to CNN.
Nassar faces six counts of sexual assault of a child, each a second-degree felony, and Van Horn faces one count of sexual assault of a child in the second degree, prosecutors said at a Friday news conference.
One of Nassar’s victims in this case is the same victim that Van Horn is charged with assaulting, officials said at a news conference.
Walker County prosecutors said Van Horn’s charges stem from “acting as a party.” She is not in custody at this time but her attorney has been notified, they said.
CNN is seeking comments from lawyers for Nassar and Van Horn.
Nassar is is already serving 40 to 175 years in Michigan for sexually abusing women and girls under the guise of performing medical treatment.
DA: Nassar didn’t work for Karolyis
Walker County Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Stroud said said Friday that the Karolyis were interviewed at length and continue to cooperate with authorities. The couple has trained numerous Olympians over the decades at their facility outside Houston.
“We do not believe there is any corroborative evidence with regard to Martha or Bela Karolyi that they did anything wrong,” Stroud said.
She noted that Nassar worked for USAG, which leased the ranch from the Karolyis. The continuing investigation focuses on USA Gymnastics, the prosecutors said.
“It is our belief that there was a total failure by USAG to protect the athletes that were part of their program,” Stroud said.
“The Karolyi Ranch now has been painted with a brush that will not be allowed to be forgotten,” Walker County District Attorney David Weeks said. “And Nassar did not work for them. People who had control over him failed. Simple as that. We acted when we got the information, but it was a long time coming.”
David Berg, the lawyer for the Karolyis told CNN: “First of all, the Karolyis are very grateful to the Texas Rangers and the Walker County DA for clearing their name today. The Karolyis are relieved to have this cloud lifted from them. There was never any evidence of wrongdoing against them.”
He said that while he “in no way” wanted to equate the suffering of Nassars accusers with that of his clients, the Karolyis were also victims of the disgraced doctor.
Manly, the lawyer who says he represents 180 gymnasts, said he felt “profound disappointment” with the lack of charges against the Karoylis.
“At least five adults at the ranch were aware that Nassar had molested children,” his statement said. “Ms. Karolyi has testified under oath that she was told … in 2015 that Nassar was molesting young athletes.”
Manly said those people had a duty under Texas law to report child sex abuse. He also said the Karolyis did more than “lease their facility” to the USAG.
“Martha Karolyi and her husband were the US National team coordinators for two decades,” the statement said. “Many Team USA athletes and Olympic athletes have reported that the Karolyis ran their Ranch with an iron fist and the conditions were dreadful. The fact that the Karolyis had one convicted and one alleged sex offender working with children at their Ranch calls into question the statement … that that they did nothing wrong.”
When told of Manly’s statement, Berg, the Karoylis’ lawyer, told CNN: “Mr. Manley is hurting his clients by his unprofessional response. The Karolyi’s were exonerated today. We would caution him to quit slandering the Karolyis. We will see Mr. Manley in court. ”
Last May, some of Nassar’s victims called on Texas officials to investigate what USA Gymnastics coach Martha Karolyi knew about Nassar’s abuse while they trained at the Karolyi Ranch.
It became the US Women’s National Team Training Center in 2001 and a US Olympic Training Site in 2011 — during many of the same years Nassar was the national team doctor.
The women and attorneys said that Martha Karolyi and her husband, Bela, the longtime gymnastics coaches, knew about Nassar’s abuse in June 2015 yet failed to protect the girls.
Nassar, who also served as a doctor for Michigan State University, is already in prison, having been sentenced to 40 to 175 years in Michigan in January. More than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades.
When asked if Nassar will actually face trial in Texas, Weeks said, “If we can.”
USAG: We’re cooperating
The USAG issued this statement Friday: “We are sorry that any athlete was harmed during his or her gymnastics career. The best way to honor the incredibly brave women who spoke out about Larry Nassar is to demonstrate every day our commitment to doing everything possible to prevent this from happening again.
“USA Gymnastics supports and is fully cooperating with the investigations by the Texas Rangers, Congress and others, and we will continue do so. Nassar has been and will remain incarcerated for up to 175 years for the horrific crimes he committed.”
Regarding Van Horn. USAG said she’s no longer an employee and “we have no information as to the basis for any charges against her.”