Recordings show Larry Nassar defended by coworker after firing
Dr. Jeffrey Kovan, the Director of Sports Medicine and Performance for Michigan State athletics, is one of the doctors who worked closely with 54-year-old disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State physician Larry Nassar during Nassar's time at Michigan State.
Recordings that were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that Kovan defended Nassar when Nassar was fired from Michigan State in September of 2016 after Rachael Denhollander became the first person to publicly accuse him of sexual assault by telling her story to The Indianapolis Star, which then published it.
Here is some of what Kovan, who made more remarks defending Nassar after he was fired that resurfaced last month, had to say to investigators just days after Nassar was fired, according to WOOD-TV.
"He's not the person that's [sic] ever gonna harm or hurt anybody. If it ever happened, it was never intended. I truly believe that about him. That being said wonderful, wonderful people sometimes do crazy things.
"When the university decided to terminate him, we were livid about it, livid. Because we hadn't been communicated with about it at all and you just fired our partner and you didn't even talk to us about it...There was this expectation that he was going to follow these [new] guidelines [set forth by his then-boss, Dr. William Strampel, stemming from a Title IX investigation that took place as a result of a complaint about him by Amanda Thomashow] or he would no longer practice or something to that affect [sic]...None of us knew that.
"Now what we're really saying is, whenever you touch a patient you better have somebody in the room because you're liable. There's a chance you could be called out on it, so I'd say forget about manipulation. If you're gonna touch a patient, we're crossing that line because that's where we're at. Now this is extreme, but if we're gonna start making those kind of statements that the university chooses to, they're gonna have trouble keeping us here because we can't afford to have a chaperone in every room."
Kovan no longer defends Nassar, who is set to spend the rest of his life in prison, and he is still employed by Michigan State. However, he is one of seven current or former Michigan State employees who are currently being investigated by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
The other six Michigan State employees who are currently under investigation by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs areDr. William Strampel, Destiny Teachnor-Hauk, Lianna Hadden, Dr. Gary Stollak, Dr. Douglas Dietzel and Dr. Brooke Lemmen.
In total, Nassar has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 300 people, many of whom female gymnasts, under the guise of medical treatment. Among those who have accused Nassar of sexual assault are Olympic champion gymnasts Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber.
After more than two decades of his predatory behavior, he was finally arrested in December of 2016.
This past December, Nassar was issued a 60-year federal prison sentence on three child pornography charges, which he is currently serving at United States Penitentiary, Tucson. United States Penitentiary, Tucson is a maximum-security federal prison located in Tucson, Arizona that offers a sex offender program for sexual predators such as Nassar.
In January, Nassar was issued a state prison sentence on seven sexual assault charges for between 40 and 175 years following a seven-day sentencing hearing in Ingham County, Michigan during which 156 people who accused Nassar of sexual assault delivered victim impact statements in court in front of Nassar. A total of 13 more people who accused him of sexual assault also had victim impact statements delivered in court on their behalves during this sentencing hearing.
Nassar was issued a second state prison sentence on three more sexual assault charges for between an additional 40 and 125 years in February following the three-day sentencing hearing during which victim impact statements of dozens of others who accused him of sexual assault were delivered either by the victims themselves or on the victims' behalves.
Roughly two weeks ago, Nassar was charged with six counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child in Texas.