23 more women, girls file lawsuit against MSU, Nassar

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Hours after a judge ruled that another criminal sexual case against Larry Nassar can proceed to trial, 23 more women and girls joined a federal lawsuit against the former Michigan State University doctor and USA Gymnastics doctor. 

The total number of women and girls who have filed lawsuits is now at 119. 

The vast majority of them have filed in federal court and named MSU and USA Gymnastics as defendants. 

Jason Cody, an MSU spokesman, declined to comment. Messages seeking comment from USA Gymnastics were not immediately returned.   

The group to file on Friday afternoon was the largest group to do so in several months. The federal lawsuit started with 18 women and girls when it was filed in January. It now has 114. In addition, several women have filed lawsuits in state courts in Michigan and California. 

Among the group to join the lawsuit on Friday are three -- Jessica Howard, Lindsey Schuett and Sterling Riethman -- who did so using their names and not Jane Doe pseudonyms. 

Howard, who was a member of the USA Gymnastics National team from 1997 to 2002, said in the court documents that Nassar digitally penetrated her vagina in 1999 while training at the Karolyi ranch, a USA Gymnatics facility run by Bela and Martha Karolyi. Several others who have filed lawsuit say Nassar sexually abused them at the ranch. 

Nassar, 53, of Holt, faces 25 criminal charges split between state and federal courts. He faces three child pornography charges in federal court and 22 sexual assault charges in state courts, all but three of which related to his former role as a doctor. 

Nassar faces up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. 

Through his attorneys, Nassar has denied any wrongdoing and said he performed legitimate medical procedures. 

Documents the State Journal has obtained through public records requests show that the university already has been billed for more than $1 million by outside law firms related to Nassar lawsuits or internal investigations.

The total, which doesn't include work performed in May or June or work by the most expensive law firm after February, will continue to rise significantly as the university begins to respond to the multiple lawsuits it is facing. 

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© 2017 Lansing State Journal


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