EAST LANSING, MI (WLNS) – An athletic trainer at Michigan State University says no one ever told her they sexually were abused by Dr. Larry Nassar. That’s despite the claims of a former athlete who says she told the trainer about it.
Tiffany Lopez, who says she’s a victim of Nassar, says she raised concerns about Nassar’s treatment to Destiny Teachnor-Hauk while at MSU.
Nassar, a former doctor for MSU and USA Gymnastics, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing several patients under the guise of medical treatment. Nassar and MSU also face civil lawsuits by more than 100 women, including Lopez, for Nassar’s abuse and for the way MSU handled the situation.
Lopez is a former MSU softball player. In her lawsuit, she said she reported abuse to MSU coaches and trainers back in the 90’s, and that Teachnor-Hauk was one of them.
“We had one conversation at Jenison Field House, i’ll never forget it,” Lopez said.
“I can remember her telling me clear as day that if I wanted to do this, if I wanted to do this, as in make a claim, make a statement that i’m allowed to,” she added.
But then Lopez said Technor-Hauk went on to say “with all that you’ve been going through, which was coming in at 17 being from California, my stepmother who raised me passed away in November of ’97 so just a few months before I went off to college, my dad being the only support system and what that would do to my family..like did I really want to bring this burden, and all of this news, and it’s going to cause a lot of drama.”
“She said what it’s going to do to my team and what it’s going to do to my teammates and then she just tried to reassure me that this was an actual medical procedure and that she didn’t believe he was doing anything at all,” Lopez said.
But in an interview with police, Teachnor-Hauk told police during an interview in March, that she has “never had an athlete tell her that Nassar did intervaginal treatment on them.”
Teachnor-Hauk, who has worked as an athletic trainer at MSU since 1997, went on to say that she has “never had an athlete tell her that Nassar made them uncomfortable.”
Documents released by MSU on Tuesday show that Teachnor-Hauk told police that she knew Nassar for a long time and worked closely with him because they were both assigned to rowing and gymnastics.
In the 2014 Title IX report obtained by 6 News, Teachnor-Hauk said she has “never had a complaint about Dr. Nassar in 17 years and has no concern about him crossing a line between medically appropriate and inappropriate.”
She did say she was aware of a 2014 investigation into Nassar’s behavior because she was contacted and interviewed by someone from the university. But she told police that she was not aware of protocols that were set for Nassar following that investigation.
She did admit to police in the spring of 2017 that she “recalls a specific time when a gymnast was talking to another athlete and said something to the effect of Nassar being in her private area.”
Teachnor-Hauk told police that the person, whose name is redacted, was laughing and did not seem uncomfortable. She went on to say that the “other times she had heard comments by athletes about Nassar, they were ‘no more extreme’ than the person who previously mentioned it.”
Records from the 2014 interview with Title IX investigators, also indicate that Teachnor-Hauk said it was appropriate for Nassar to move breast tissue when examining for shoulder pain or ribs.
However, in Teachnor-Hauk’s 2017 interview with MSU Police and the FBI, she said “when Nassar did adjustments for ribs, she was not aware of skin on skin contact between Nassar’s hand and an athletes breast.”
“I’m mad, i’m upset,” Lopez said during a phone interview. “I’m upset that once again I’m being told that this isn’t true, that what I experienced and what I’ve lived through and what I so clearly remember like yesterday, is again being suggested that it’s a lie.”
6 News reached out to Teachnor-Hauk and MSU for comment on this story, but has not heard back.
During a news conference following Nassar’s sentencing in federal court last month, Lopez told reporters that she wants to see accountability coming out of MSU.
“I’m still in the search for my alma mater to take responsibility,” she said. “Two of the young ladies that were on staff at the time that I reached out to, are still at staff at the school.”
Nassar will be sentenced next month on the sexual assault charges.
He also pleaded guilty to federal charges involving child pornography. A judge sentenced him to 60 years in that case.