Accusers face ex-MSU gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar in court

Women allege years of sexual assault
Posted at 5:40 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 17:40:12-04

Accusers of Larry Nassar faced the former Michigan State University gymnastics physician today in court, saying he humiliated, degraded and assaulted them under the guise of medical treatment.

"He had sexually assaulted me, and I knew it," said Rachael Denhollander, a former patient of Nassars who said he assaulted her starting  when she was only 15.  A mother in her thirties now, she was the first to publicly accuse Nassar of abuse last summer.

"He was the national (U.S. Olumpics) team physician, he was this revered doctor that MSU held out. It was clearly something he did very regularly," Denhollander said. "Again, his movements were very rehearsed, they were very confident.  I was not a test case, and our presumption was if he was not doing something legitimate, someone would have stopped him."

Starting when she was 15, Denhollander says Nassar used his bare fingers to penetrate her while he was treating her for gymnastics injuries, saying it was a legitimate medical treatment. The abuse, she says, started in early 2000 and often took place with a parent in the room.

"There’s not an area of my life that’s not affected by what Larry Nassar chose to do," she said. "It destroyed my ability to trust, it destroyed my ability to see physical contact as good, as innocent.  Because my trust was used as a weapon against me, the only way I could see to protect myself was to not trust ever again."

A second and third accuser of Nassar's also took the stand today, but the judge required that neither be named and their faces not be shown.

One testified that she was uncomfortable when Nassar used his fingers to penetrate her, but assumed it was standard medical procedure.  Another woman said after Nassar assaulted her during one appointment, she cried the entire car ride home.  

Testimony ended Friday afternoon but will continue on May 26 with four more witnesses set to take the stand.