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Michigan State doctors defended Larry Nassar after he was fired

Asher Fair
Published 07 Jun 2018, 13:06 IST
07 Jun 2018, 13:06 IST

Larry Nassar

After disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician Larry Nassar was fired from his position at Michigan State in September of 2016 just days after the publication of sexual assault allegations against him in The Indianapolis Star made by Rachael Denhollander, two other doctors at Michigan State defended Nassar.

Nassar, 54, has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 330 people, many of whom female gymnasts, under the guise of medical treatment for more than two decades.

He ended up being arrested in December of 2016. He was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison this past December on three child pornography charges, and he is currently serving this sentence at United States Penitentiary, Tucson in Tucson, Arizona.

He was then given two state prison sentences, which will ensure that he is behind bars for the rest of his life. The first of those two state prison sentences was issued in January in an Ingham County, Michigan courtroom, and the second was issued in February in an Eaton County, Michigan courtroom.

Nassar's first state prison sentence is for between 40 and 175 years. He was given this sentence as a result of the fact that he was charged with seven counts of sexual assault.

His second state prison sentence is for between an additional 40 and 125 years. He was given this sentence as a result of the fact that he was charged with three more counts of sexual assault.

But Nassar, who has been described as a master manipulator countless times by countless people who have accused him of sexual assault, must have had his fellow doctors at Michigan State University fooled, because two of them defended him even after he was fired just months before his arrest.

Here is what Dr. Jeffrey Kovan, a team physician for Michigan State University athletics who no longer stands by his previous support for Nassar, had to say about Nassar just days after the university fired him over sexual assault allegations, according to WXYZ Detroit.

“This is too good of a person with the right intentions to end up in prison. That’s what I worry about. I’ve seen that and it’s a horrible story. And so, this is not the right guy. They went after the wrong guy for the wrong reasons. But it still needs to be looked into because people felt that way.
“It’s just hard, it’s just hard watching him get just lambasted in the press. And the system is the system, nobody defends the person that’s being accused because he’s obviously guilty until proven innocent. That’s how the world sees it.
“That is part of his practice. And I’ve said to somebody else, you know, there’s been 16 other people that have come out with complaints, but the number should be will into (the) hundreds. Because for 30 years—not this procedure per say— but for many, many years, this is why he has the skill set and the expertise that he does. Because he does this procedures, because the rest of us don’t.
“Do I trust and believe in him? Absolutely I do. Would I have him see my family member? Tomorrow, if he was allowed to. Because I trust him that much.”

However, while Kovan was attempting to defend Nassar back in 2016, he was also asked if he would treat female patients without someone else present like Nassar did and if he would perform intimate treatments without a glove like Nassar did.

Kovan stated that he would not do either, which effectively helped build a case against Nassar, who, as stated above, did both on a regular basis. Kovan is still employed by Michigan State University.

Here is what Dr. Brooke Lemmen, a former Michigan State University doctor who was one of the four doctors who were close to Nassar and cleared him following a Title IX investigation in 2014 that took place after Amanda Thomashow accused Nassar of sexual assault, had to say about Nassar just days after he was fired from his position at the university over sexual assault allegations, according to WXYZ Detroit.

“You’ve got this person you’ve worked with for 14 years, I’ve never seen anything that would make me worried. There are coaches in the gymnastics world you get the creep factor from. And I’ve never had that from him."

However, she did say that she did not give Nassar the patient files that he asked for. These patient files were those of the patients who had accused him sexual assault.

“He said his lawyer wanted him to review those. I told him yeah, I can pick those up. And…I was not going to bring them to him that night. And as I was driving home that night, it was one of those, like, he shouldn’t have these."

Lemmen resigned from Michigan State University in January of 2017 after she learned that they were considering firing her despite the fact that she did not share the files that Nassar requested with him, the fact that she returned those files to Michigan State and the fact that she made Michigan State aware of the fact that Nassar kept other files at Twistars Gymnastics Club in Dimondale, Michigan, where he also sexually assault dozens of gymnasts.

According to her lawyer, Aaron Kemp, Lemmen cooperated with all of the investigations into Nassar and his predatory behavior as well.

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 16:15 IST
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