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Aly Raisman takes first step to sue Michigan State University

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Asher Fair
Modified 05 Mar 2018

Two-time Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman filed a lawsuit against the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics last week for their role in covering up the sexual assault of disgraced former doctor Larry Nassar, which took place over the course of roughly two decades.

Nassar, 54, was the team doctor for USA Gymnastics, and he also worked as a doctor at Michigan State University. He has been accused of sexual assault by more than 265 people, most of whom are women or girls. Raisman, 23, has now taken the first step to sue Michigan State for their role in the cover-up of his assault as well.

The Needham, Massachusetts native filed paperwork in the Michigan Court of Claims to notify Michigan State of her intent to file a lawsuit against them, which is required in Michigan.

As of now, over 250 people have filed lawsuits against the USOC, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State. While Raisman was not a gymnast or even a student at Michigan State, the university failed to alert USA Gymnastics of the assault claims they got against Nassar, just as USA Gymnastics failed to alert Michigan State. He was working for both at the time.

Raisman claimed that Nassar began sexually assaulting her in 2010. She revealed this abuse in the summer of 2015 to a private investigator hired by USA Gymnastics, but she was ultimately threatened to keep quiet about it when she and her mother, Lynn, continued to reach out to make sure proper steps were being taken.

They were told that if they continued to reach out, they risked jeopardizing the investigation. But as it turns out, proper steps were not being taken after all.

It took over one year later for Nassar to finally be arrested, and that only happened after Rachael Denhollander published her account of Nassar's sexual assault in The Indianapolis Star in September of 2016, becoming the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of seassault.

Only then did the claims made against Nassar start to be taken seriously.

Nassar was recently sentenced three times for his crimes. This past December, he was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on three child pornography charges. In January, he was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in state prison on seven sexual assault charges.

It was during this sentencing hearing in January in Ingham County, Michigan when Raisman unexpectedly showed up and delivered a scathing victim impact statement in front of Nassar in court that received national attention almost immediately.

Nassar was then sentenced to between an additional 40 and 125 years in state prison on three more sexual assault charges in Eaton County, Michigan last month. Later last month, he was sent to United States Penitentiary Tucson, a maximum-security federal prison in Tucson, Arizona, to complete his 60-year sentence.

Published 05 Mar 2018, 03:23 IST
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