With Larry Nassar in prison for life, shifts to Michigan State University
Competed for Gedderts' Twistars Gymnastics under coaches John and Kathryn floor exercise and all-around champion at Michigan Level 10 State Meet. Twistars Invitational draws 2, gymnasts Vanessa Florian from Twistars, shows her form on the 2 of 6 Jada Rocca from ATB Gymnastics concentrates on her vault at the Twistars Invitational Sunday, January 10, at the Summit. HERE IS YOUR - TENTATIVE MEET SCHEDULE ALONG WITH OTHER IMPORTANT ON OUR WEB SITE ON OUR TEAM FARMINGTON PAGE - “MEET ENTRY FORM - PM, SS & RS” TWISTARS.
When John was in a good mood or playful or approved of you it was like a drug, you wanted more of it," Jane says about her training with him as a girl. Nassar, by comparison, was socially awkward, even "nerdy," she says. But still, "like a Labrador puppy, the sweetest guy.
Kent State Athletics
They worked the Olympics together. Geddert was in Nassar's wedding party when Nassar got married in East Lansing in They attended each other's house parties and traveled the country and, later, the world together at competitions. They vouched for each other when faced with career-threatening circumstances.
The two men were joined at Great Lakes Gymnastics by a mutual friend, Kathie Klages, who worked at the club for five years before leaving to become head coach of the women's gymnastics team at Michigan State University. Together, Klages and Geddert coached some of the area's best gymnasts, many of whom later competed in Spartan green. Nassar was there to treat them when their bodies broke down.
Geddert's coaching style was largely based on fear and intimidation, according to Jane and dozens of others who spoke with Outside the Lines over the past year, a group that includes current and former gymnasts, parents of gymnasts, coaches who have worked alongside Geddert, and other gym employees. Many of those contacted said they were reluctant to speak publicly about Geddert because they either have children involved in gymnastics in the Lansing area or careers in the sport and they are mindful of the power he wields.
Geddert joined Great Lakes as head coach in and helped build the gym into a national powerhouse. In the workout area, he frequently could be overheard screaming at his gymnasts, reducing many to tears. He routinely denied gymnasts water until they performed exercises to his satisfaction, former gymnasts say. He can make you feel like nothing very quickly," says a former office manager of Geddert's at Twistars, Priscilla Kintigh, who was coached by Geddert at Great Lakes in the mids and whose son trained at Twistars.
Parents were allowed to observe practices from the galleries at Great Lakes and later Twistars but, given the long hours, most preferred to drop their children off, entrusting them to Geddert and his fellow coaches.
In the hyper-competitive environment in which the fiery head coach lorded over the gym, Nassar's training room at Great Lakes offered an escape, former gymnasts told Outside the Lines. It was tucked behind the vault and balance beam, through a heavy metal door with a single small window that Nassar often covered with a sheet while treating gymnasts.
A parent would have had to walk across the entire workout floor to get to the training room, and few ever did. Jane, the former gymnast, remembers being alone with Nassar on multiple occasions, lying on his training-room table as he penetrated her rectum with his bare fingers, ostensibly to treat her injured back. She can't recall the precise dates of those sessions but said they occurred around the same time she visited his apartment, inwhen she was 12 or 13 years old.
She never told her parents or anyone else at the time about what happened with Nassar, who wasn't yet a physician. He never sought parental consent. Nassar, after all, was "the good cop" to Geddert's bad cop, the smiling trainer who helped gymnasts decompress from the pressure-cooker environment Geddert created outside of the training room door.
There's no way any of the girls would have felt comfortable saying anything to John [about Larry]. Kids were terrified of him. By then, Nassar was an accomplished athletic trainer who had volunteered at the Pan American Games and Olympic gymnastics trials, treating members of the U.
Nassar volunteered at Great Lakes about 20 hours a week, a demanding schedule for a medical student. He once failed a biochemistry exam after he'd worked a weekend gymnastics competition. With his future in doubt, it was Geddert who came to Nassar's aid, writing a letter to the dean of Michigan State's College of Osteopathic Medicine, saying he wouldn't allow Nassar back in his gym until he completed medical school.
Nassar was ultimately readmitted at MSU and told he could complete his degree in five years rather than four. His absence from Great Lakes lasted a month. In the years that followed, Nassar and Geddert rose to greater prominence within the gymnastics world. InNassar became national medical coordinator for the sport's governing body, USA Gymnastics, a position that made him part of an iconic Olympic moment that same year: He frequently impressed young gymnasts in and around Lansing with ribbons and posters he'd bring to them as gifts from his travels to international competitions.
Geddert would go on to become the most decorated women's gymnastics coach in state history, coaching more than 50 U. Wieber did not respond to ESPN's requests for comment. Geddert served as head coach of the women's team at the London Games. In recent months, three members of that team, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas, have alleged that they, too, were sexually assaulted by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment.
Maroney says Nassar abused her when he was alone with her in Texas and in Tokyo. In the months before and after the London Olympics, Geddert's temper threatened his career. He was accused of assault and battery in two separate incidents at Twistars, according to police reports obtained by Outside the Lines. In the first incident, reported in Novemberthe parent of a Twistars gymnast, who also worked at the club as a coach, told state police that during a heated argument after an evening practice, Geddert followed her into the parking lot and physically assaulted her by stepping on her foot and chest bumping her to prevent her from leaving.
In the second incident, a year later, a gymnast told police Geddert "stepped on her toe, grabbed her arm and pushed her into the wall" to discipline her, according to a police report. Geddert, who told police the year-old "got her ass chewed," denied the allegations of assault and did not face charges in either case. Shortly after the second alleged incident, the girl's grandmother received a series of text messages from an unexpected source -- Larry Nassar.
He pleaded with her not to file charges against Geddert. Remember this is not just about John but also effects [sic] every family at the gym. Just as he had years earlier at Great Lakes Gymnastics, Nassar saw hundreds of girls on his training table in a back room at Twistars, alone. Parents would sign up their children to see Nassar on Monday evenings and often wait more than two hours for a chance to be treated by him.
Dozens of former Twistars gymnasts now say Nassar sexually abused them during those medical exams. In the spring and summer ofUSA Gymnastics paid Don Brooks, a Lansing private detective, to investigate the history of complaints against Geddert. Among others, Brooks interviewed the former Twistars gymnast who alleged Geddert assaulted her in the locker room, the girl's grandmother said. When reached by phone, Brooks declined to comment about his findings, which he turned over to USA Gymnastics in September It's unclear what happened to the investigation; USA Gymnastics declined to comment.
Nassar was well aware of the way Geddert worked with gymnasts. What's not clear, even today, is how much Geddert knew about Nassar's serial sexual abuse. On at least one occasion, Geddert walked into the back room of Twistars while Nassar was digitally penetrating a young gymnast, according to the woman's court testimony: His attorney did not respond to requests for comment. Two former Michigan State gymnasts say they told ex-MSU coach Kathie Klages, pictured, in that Nassar had improperly touched them during medical treatments.
But Nassar was arguably one of the most accessible doctors in and around East Lansing, too. He saw patients at the sports medicine clinic on the Michigan State University campus, where he worked full time, as a volunteer at Great Lakes Gymnastics and later Twistars, and at Holt High School, not far from his home. He saw girls after hours, at his home, to accommodate parents' schedules. He followed many of the girls he saw as patients on social media, often commenting on their posts. In the fall ofNassar treated young gymnasts in the basement of Michigan State's Jenison Fieldhouse.
That's where he met Larissa Boyce. Nassar also treated MSU gymnasts and other athletes. Boyce told Outside the Lines that Nassar penetrated her dozens of times, explaining the first time he did the procedure that he needed to massage her pelvic muscles in order to treat her injured back. During one such visit, he removed his belt, dimmed the lights and appeared to become sexually aroused, Boyce says.
A second Spartan Youth gymnast, 14 at the time, says she also had been digitally penetrated by Nassar over the course of several appointments. She and Boyce say that in latethey told Klages what was happening during their sessions with Nassar. Says the second former gymnast: And it wasn't that sense at all of getting help.
It was more a sense of, 'Who have you told so far? Boyce and the second former gymnast say Klages never informed their parents about what they had told her.
Klages and her attorney declined to comment for this story. I just wasn't going to say anything else," Boyce says.
Under Michigan law, certain individuals are required to alert law enforcement authorities of suspected abuse. School and university administrators and teachers are among those required to report. Coaches are not named as mandatory reporters in the law, but some attorneys who represent gymnasts believe they fall into the "teacher" category and are obligated to alert authorities.
Boyce and the second former gymnast are two of four athletes Outside the Lines has interviewed who say they told Michigan State coaches or trainers in the late s about Nassar's invasive methods. Tiffany Thomas Lopez, a softball player on full scholarship, says she complained about Nassar to three athletic trainers ina year after Boyce and the second gymnast met with Klages to reveal their alleged abuse. She eventually met with Destiny Teachnor-Hauk, an athletic training supervisor.
She made me feel like I was crazy. An MSU spokesman said he could not comment due to pending litigation. A fourth MSU athlete, Christie Achenbach, says she told a Michigan State coach in details of what happened to her during an appointment with Nassar that year -- a year after Thomas Lopez had complained to trainers about Nassar.
Achenbach told Outside the Lines her coach assured her Nassar was a respected physician. It is unclear whether the athletic trainers and coaches at Michigan State were guided by indifference or blind loyalty to Nassar.
Even when multiple women came forward in latealleging abuse by Nassar during medical exams, Klages continued to defend her former colleague.
Lindsey Lemke, a senior on the Spartans' gymnastics team, says Klages circulated a card during a team meeting in late September, shortly after Nassar was fired by the university, asking gymnasts to sign it as a show of support for him. Lemke alleges in a lawsuit against Nassar and Michigan State that she was sexually assaulted hundreds of times, digitally penetrated by Nassar when she was as young as Her mother, Christy Lemke-Akeo, remembers a conversation she had with Klages the day before she and her daughter reported the abuse to police.
Doctors interviewed by Outside the Lines say intravaginal and intrarectal treatments have been used for decades to treat medical problems such as pelvic floor dysfunction, which can occur when muscles on the pelvic floor become weak or tight. The treatments can also be used for interstitial cystitis, a painful bladder syndrome.
Sooner Spotlight: Ashley Jackson
But those same doctors say the procedures are never performed without gloves, a chaperone in the room and, in the case of a minor, parental consent. Lemke-Akeo says she explained to Klages that Nassar never sought parental consent, that he touched her daughter without gloves and without someone else in the room.
She says she told Klages that "in my mind, that makes it illegal. In February of last year, as the allegations of sexual abuse mounted, Michigan State suspended Klages for her outspoken support of Nassar.
A day after being suspended, Klages resigned. Shortly after, Klages ended up back with Geddert at his gym, Twistars.
She left in August after local media reported her presence there. Michigan State's improper handling of abuse complaints against Larry Nassar has led to protests as information has become public.
Four former Michigan State athletes say they told MSU coaches or trainers in the late s about Nassar's invasive methods. They were there to speak with Dr. William Strampel, the college's dean. Three weeks after Nassar had been charged with 22 felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, the detectives were investigating whether anyone else might have broken the law by failing to stop or report Nassar's abuses sooner. Strampel explained that his role as dean put him at the top of Nassar's reporting chain.
He told the two detectives that other than signing off on Nassar's travel requests to attend Olympic Games and other international gymnastics competitions, he and the doctor had no interaction with each other during Strampel's first 15 years in East Lansing. That changed on a Sunday afternoon in the spring of Strampel was at home when he received a call telling him that a student had accused Nassar of assaulting her, massaging her breasts and vaginal area when she visited him for a hip injury.
The day of her one and only appointment with Nassar, the woman told a receptionist and another doctor at the sports medicine clinic she "felt violated. The university's police department opened a criminal investigation. The university's Title IX department interviewed four experts to evaluate the complaint, all of whom had ties to Nassar. Among the four was Dr. She told the Title IX investigators in the spring of there was nothing sexual about the treatment Nassar administered.
The other three experts agreed with her opinion and decided that the complainant didn't understand the "nuanced difference" between the medical procedure and assault. Lemmen resigned under pressure last January. She faced allegations that she had failed to tell her bosses that Nassar had told her -- in -- he was being investigated by USA Gymnastics for suspected abuse, according to her personnel file first obtained by the Lansing State Journal.
She also was accused of removing some of Nassar's patient files from the sports clinic after he was fired by MSU in In a letter sent by Strampel to Lemmen before she resigned, Strampel told her that had the school known about the USAG allegations, it could have taken steps to review Nassar's conduct earlier. Yet Strampel told the detectives he interpreted the Title IX ruling then to mean Nassar was "exonerated" and "cleared of all charges.
Strampel sent Nassar an email on July 30,that said he was "happy that this has resolved to some extend [sic]" and recapped basic guidelines for what Nassar had to do while treating patients in sensitive areas in the future. Nassar saw patients for another 16 months while he remained under criminal investigation. The county prosecutor decided in December that there was not enough evidence to charge him with a crime.
Instead, the prosecutor instructed a police officer to tell Nassar that he should have a witness present whenever he performed an intravaginal treatment and to explain it fully before doing it. Nassar told the officer that he had been doing those things since he started seeing patients again the previous summer. He told Strampel upon returning to work that the impact of the Title IX investigation "will forever affect me.
Former Olympian Aly Raisman and former U. Several of the women who saw Nassar during that period said he didn't have a chaperone in the examination room on Michigan State's campus and that he touched them without wearing gloves, clear violations of the protocols he agreed to follow after the Title IX investigation.
The day after the detectives' visit with Strampel last March, they met with Dr. Douglas Dietzel, Nassar's immediate supervisor. Dietzel told them that, inwhen a new wave of allegations arrived -- ones that would eventually open the floodgates of complaints and land Nassar in prison -- Strampel visited the clinic and said Nassar would be suspended again.
Boyce decided to drop it. She soon quit gymnastics, giving up on a sport she loved and was projected to compete in at the college level. She told no one why. For nearly 20 years, she assumed she really had been confused by the treatment. Then other victims stepped forward. The state police set up a hotline to take complaints. In February, a day after MSU placed her on suspension for downplaying concerns about Nassar, Klages retired after 27 years leading the Spartans.
She denied any wrongdoing and promised to cooperate with any investigation. Story continues Boyce saw it differently.
And her anger only rose as she learned that she was not the only one to speak up. At least six other women say they raised suspicions of Nassar from between and One, former Michigan State softball player Tiffany Lopez, alleges in a lawsuit she told three different MSU trainers about concerns she had of Nassar between and They were not acted on. Meanwhile, Nassar was investigated in by police in nearby Meridian Township for assault but the case was not sent to prosecutors.
Ina complaint to campus police was referred to the district attorney, but Nassar was not charged.
- Nassar surrounded by adults who enabled his predatory behavior
- 2006 Women's Gymnastics Season Preview
- With sexual predator Larry Nassar in prison, focus turns to what Michigan State knew and when
On both occasions the doctor said his actions were legitimate medical treatments. Then there was a Title IX investigation by the school that cleared Nassar.
It is a de facto admission of guilt. Worse, only Nassar was told of the prohibitions. He was allowed to operate on the honor system. Through it all the victims piled up, one injured young athlete after the next, believing they were lucky to be seen by such a prominent doctor, who cloaked himself in Olympic red, white and blue and Spartan green and white, with pictures of he and famous gymnasts lining the wall of his office.
Nassar pled guilty in November of molesting her, known as Victim B in criminal counts.
Twistars Summer Camp
An entire courtroom of tearful young woman told the story for her. Officials that kept Larry in power for decades. Officials who ignored repeated reports of sexual assault.
Officials who brushed victims off as unable to tell the difference between a medical exam and sexual violation. The results were sent to the U. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, which citing departmental policy declined comment on the situation. No criminal charges have been brought. MSU also conducted an internal review run by a former U. Attorney, but there is skepticism of that investigation because no victims, including Boyce and others who say they alerted MSU employees, were questioned.
They are just playing games.