Four more women have been added to a federal lawsuit that accuses a Michigan Muslim doctor from Team USA gymnastics of sexually abusing athletes.
The complaint against Dr. Larry Nassar started with 18 women and girls two weeks ago. The case now involves 22 former gymnasts after a new filing Wednesday in federal court.
The new plaintiffs were between the ages of 10 and 17 when the sexual assaults occurred, and two of them are still minors.
A day earlier, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs suspended Nassar’s medical license to practice as an osteopathic physician.
Nassar faces at least five lawsuits from women and girls, including an Olympic medalist, alleging abuse during medical treatments, but the case in western Michigan is the largest. He denies any wrongdoing.
Many of the plaintiffs claim that they were vaginally or anally penetrated by Nassar with ungloved fingers and without their consent while treating them for injuries using a technique he called ‘intravaginal adjustment,’ it was reported.
One patient said Nassar used massage cream as lubricant during the treatments. Others said he used no lubricant.
Separately, Nassar is charged with sexually assaulting a family friend at his Lansing-area home between 1998, when she was just six years old, until 2005. He also is charged in federal court with possessing child pornography.
The 53-year-old physician is being held in jail without bond.
Nassar has been under scrutiny since September when two gymnasts, including a member of the 2000 US women’s Olympic team, said they were molested by him when they were teens.
Last month, another court case was filed in Los Angeles by former Michigan State University softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez, who has waived her right to anonymity.
Ms Lopez, now 37, said she began refusing treatment, stopped playing softball and eventually left Michigan State and returned home to California after being abused by him.
FBI Special Agent Rod Charles also testified last month about the evidence that was found in a garbage can at Nassar’s home in Holt, near Lansing.
Mr Charles said FBI agents found the child pornography videos on hard drives after asking for trash collection to be delayed.
The New York Post reported that the videos included footage of Nassar sexually assaulting girls under the age of 12 in a pool.
NBC News said Nassar had also used a GoPro to film the attacks, suggesting they took place in the last 10 years.
In October, an elite US gymnast, who was named in court papers as ‘Jane LM Doe,’ filed a suit in California against USA Gymnastics and her former coaches, gymnastic legends Bela and Martha Karolyi.
That suit alleged that the Karolyis had covered up abuse by Nassar, and fostered an environment in which he was empowered to inflict it on the plaintiff.
In one specific example, the suit claimed that Nassar had performed ‘intravaginal adjustment’ – a fake medical term it says he invented to justify penetrating the victim’s vagina with his fingers.
He said he needed to do so in order to ‘adjust her bones’, the suit claims.
‘These vaginal examinations were well outside any recognized and/or accepted technique and were done for Nassar’s own sexual gratification,’ it added.
Nassar’s lawyer had asked for him to be bailed to his home and said he could be monitored electronically by means of a tag.
But Assistant US Attorney Sean Lewis, arguing against bail, said Nassar faced allegations spanning decades and involved children as young as six.
Federal Magistrate Ray Kent refused bail, saying Nassar was the ‘worst’ kind of danger.
Nassar’s case was highlighted by the Indianapolis Star newspaper which claimed at least 368 young gymnasts were sexually assaulted by coaches or other adults involved in the sport.