Nassar fails to defend himself in civil suit

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, file photo, Dr. Larry Nassar listens to testimony of a witness during a preliminary hearing, in Lansing, Mich. The former sports doctor at Michigan State University who specialized in treating gymnasts has been charged with sexual assault. Dr. Nassar was charged Wednesday, Feb. 22, in two Michigan counties. Online records show he's facing nine charges in Ingham county, including first-degree criminal sexual conduct against a victim under age 13. Nassar had a clinic at Michigan State, where he treated members of the gymnastics team and younger regional gymnasts. (Robert Killips/Lansing State Journal via AP, File)

A federal court has taken action against former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar for failing to respond to a civil lawsuit against him.

The court ordered a “default” against him on Tuesday at the request of attorneys Mick Grewal, David Mittleman, and Andrew Abood.

Together, their suits represent 21 of the more than 80 women and girls who have filed suit against Nassar after they say he sexually assaulted them under the guise of treatment. They claim he penetrated them using his fingers and touched them inappropriately in other places.

The attorneys say that by failing to respond to the lawsuit, Nassar gives up his right to defend himself against the allegations in the suit.

Nassar, who also faces criminal charges of sexual assault in two Michigan counties, has said he’s not guilty of the charges against him and that he only performed legitimate medical techniques. But he did not make any such claims in the civil suit, hence the default.

Nassar’s criminal attorneys, Matt Newburg and Shannon Smith, have not filed on Nassar’s behalf in any of the civil lawsuits. They declined to comment on whether or not they are representing Nassar in the civil suits.

“I feel validated that what I felt was happening 20 years ago is true,” said former Nassar patient Larissa Boyce in a press release from her attorneys. “I feel a sense of relief and freedom.”

6 News does not normally name victims of sexual assault, but Boyce agreed to speak publicly about her case.

The suit also names a host of other defendants, including Michigan State University, its trustees, current and former employees at MSU, as well as the Twistars gymnastics club and its owner. Those defendants have, through attorneys, given notice that they intend to respond to the lawsuit.





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