Disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar almost killed after being stabbed in prison

The convicted sex abuser was assaulted in federal prison in Florida on Sunday

Rachel Sharp,Graeme Massie
Monday 10 July 2023 13:26 BST
Larry Nassar sentenced to 175 years in prison

Disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was left seriously injured after he was stabbed multiple times during an attack in a federal prison in Florida.

The convicted sex abuser, 59, was stabbed in the back and chest by another inmate at the high-security United States Penitentiary Coleman in Florida on Sunday afternoon.

A Bureau of Prisons spokesperson confirmed toThe Independent that an inmate at Coleman was assaulted at around 2.35pm on Sunday. Guards immediately initiated life-saving measures before EMS arrived and continued to administer “life-saving efforts,” the spokesperson said.

The inmate was then transported to a local hospital for further treatment and evaluation.

The BOP spokesperson refused to confirm that Nassar was the inmate attacked citing “privacy, safety, and security reasons” which bar them from discussing inmates’ medical status.

The extent of his injuries is currently unclear but sources told The Associated Press that he was now in stable condition. The BOP said that no staff or other inmates were injured in the incident. An internal investigation has been launched into what happened and the FBI has also been notified.

Rachael Denhollander, a lawyer and former gymnast, was the first woman to speak out about her abuse by Nassar. She took to Twitter on Monday to react to the stabbing.

“Justice is conformity to what is right. It should be pursued and fought for,” she tweeted. “Forgiveness is releasing personal vengeance and desiring for the offender to find true repentance and peace. I am holding both especially today.”

And she added: “None of the women I’ve spoken with are rejoicing today. We’re grieving the destruction across so much. We’re grieving the reality that protecting others from him came with the near-certainty we would wake up to this someday.

“For ALL our sakes, we desperately wish he had chosen differently. The farthest we can run from what Larry became, is to love. That isn’t at odds with justice, but it means we aren’t finding entertainment value in destruction either.

“No one’s life is a gif for us to mock, even when we are standing against the evil that person has done. It’s not the same as justice. All of us would appreciate it if you’d lay off the memes, gifs and jokes. This isn’t a joke to any of us.”

The former USA Gymnastics team doctor is serving between 40 and 175 years in prison for sexually abusing young female athletes in his care.

As the team doctor, the sexual predator abused his position of trust and preyed on dozens of young gymnasts for several decades, including Olympic great Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and McKayla Maroney.

In many cases, he sexually assaulted his young victims under the guise of it being medical treatment for hip and leg injuries sustained during the sport.

As well as USA Gymnastics, based in Indianapolis, he also worked at Michigan State University and preyed on athletes there as well.

Many of his victims went on to become America’s biggest gymnastics stars and have since spoken out about the years of abuse they endured at his hands.

The scandal not only plagued USA Gymnastics – with victims revealing that they had confided in adults and coaches about the abuse – but also the FBI which failed to take the accusations seriously and left Nassar to abuse more than 120 further victims while they sat on the information for a year-and-a-half.

It was July 2015 when Maggie Nichols became the first victim to report his sexual abuse to USA Gymnastics bosses, who then passed the information on to the FBI’s Indianapolis field office.

Larry Nassar preyed on girls and young women in his role as USA Gymnastics doctor
Larry Nassar preyed on girls and young women in his role as USA Gymnastics doctor (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

W Jay Abbott, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis office, resigned from the bureau in 2017. He was accused of waiting five weeks before telling the FBI about the first allegations received by US Gymnastics about Nassar’s behaviour.

Agents failed to open an investigation for another 17 months when a complaint about Nassar was then made to Michigan State University’s campus police.

The Justice Department watchdog later released a scathing report on the bureau’s handling of the matter, which it said let the sexual predator go on to abuse dozens more victims.

Following his 2016 arrest, Nassar pleaded guilty to child porn in December 2017 and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Two months later, he pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct at a separate trial and was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. He is also serving a separate 40 to 125 years for sexual abuse in Michigan.

While behind bars, the serial sex offender has sought to fight his length conviction, claiming that he was treated unfairly by the judge at his 2018 trial who called him a “monster” and said he should “wither” in prison like the wicked witch in “The Wizard of Oz”.

His final appeal was struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court in June 2022.

In 2021, several of Nassar’s victims including top gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols appeared before a Senate Judiciary Committee where they gave emotional – and damning – testimony about the abuse that they suffered at the hands of Nassar – and how authorities failed to bring him to justice for years.

Nassar was originally sent to a prison in Tucson, Arizona, and was attacked shortly after being released into the general population.

Authorities then transferred Nassar to his current maximum security federal prison, which is located about 90 minutes from Tampa.

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