A former US Olympic gymnastics doctor accused of sexually assaulting more than 100 gymnasts, pleaded guilty to three counts of child pornography on Tuesday, avoiding more serious sentences, said on Tuesday a federal court the United States.
Dr. Lawrence Nassar, also known as Larry, is one of the central characters in the massive sexual abuse scandal over more than two decades in which the American Gymnastics Federation has been stuck in revelations since late 2016.
This is the first legal settlement for this 53-year-old doctor in this case that moved America, notably because of the young age of the victims, sometimes still girls at the time of the facts.
The doctor of the USA Gymnastics between 1996 and 2015 risks up to 20 years imprisonment for each of these charges, said the Michigan Court where he was heard.
On the other hand, in exchange for this plea-guilty procedure, the judge abandoned three counts of sexual assault on four gymnasts, one of whom was 11 at the time of the offense.
According to Attorney General Andrew Birge, who led the charge, the four women were in favor of the deal.
“With Dr. Nassar’s confession of guilty on federal charges today, victims and the public can be assured that the timing of accountability is part of the doctor’s future,” said Andrew Birge. “Those who exploit the children will be brought to light and accountable,” he added.
Lawrence Nassar, physician of the American gymnastics team on four Olympic games, was for the first time on the dock for sexual assault. According to the court, however, it could be presented again to a judge on charges of sexual abuse.
He is also the subject of other sexual assault charges in Michigan and California, with a total of over 100 women accused of abusing them.
During a week of hearing in June, witnesses said that Dr. Nassar had taken advantage of his position to pass penetrations with his fingers for medical procedures.
The scandal had broken out in December 2016 when the Indianapolis Star had revealed that 368 children and adolescent girls affiliated with the Gymnastics Federation had been sexually assaulted.
The paper has since had access to internal documents showing that convicted coaches continued to train after their conviction.