The list of women and girls who say they've been sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar keeps growing.
As people in the Lansing region and beyond struggle with the fallout, there are supporters of the survivors who refuse to stand idle.
It's resulted in efforts ranging from an online fundraiser to create a nationwide network of free counseling services to a basketball-driven boost for existing charitable organizations.
"We want to show that we care," said Casey Copp, a 22-year-old Michigan State University senior. He's one of 13 section leaders for The Izzone, the men's basketball team's spirit section.
Hope for recovery
More than 250 women and girls have told law enforcement that Nassar has sexually assaulted them.
On Jan. 25, "The Rock" on Michigan State University's campus was painted to show support for women who said in an Ingham County court they were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar. (Photo: Nick King/Lansing State Journal)
Nassar, 54, formerly of Holt, has already been sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on seven sexual assault charges in Ingham County and 60 years on federal child pornography charges.
There's no easy path to recovery for those sexually assaulted by Nassar, but the fearlessness of those who have come forward brings awareness to the need for counseling and therapy, said Jessica Steyers, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist.
"It was one triumph, but you have to go back and deal with the symptoms you're experiencing," Steyers said of victim-impact statements made in court. "I don't think we should all look at them and say 'Oh, they're all doing fine.'"
All proceeds, Steyers said, will help survivors find counseling and therapy, and reduce the financial burden for services.
Steyers said she's working with John Manley, an attorney for several survivors, and others to determine how the money will be distributed.
"It would be fantastic if this turns into a awareness and educational campaign," Steyers said.
Steyers, 36, lives in New York City and was involved in gymnastics for 15 years. While working at University of Michigan gymnastics camps, Steyers said she got to know several former gymnasts who have recently come forward to report Nassar's criminal acts.
Last month, MSU's Board of Trustees created a $10 million fund to MSU health clinic patients and student-athletes whom Nassar sexually assaulted. Those with eligibility questions can call Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation Inc. at 800-540-2624.
Those seeking referral for services can call a 24-hour hotline operated by the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault at 866-407-1240.
The Izzone is showing its support with a campaign to support two charities that help sexual assault survivors, said Copp, the MSU student.
This effort started Jan. 24 with creation of an online gofundme campaign that's raised over $7,000.
The effort included acceptance of cash donations before the Spartans' Jan. 26 home game against Wisconsin.
The first three days of the fundraiser generated over $5,000, Copp said. To make a donation, visit bit.ly/2DOAo1W.
The Izzone has over 4,500 members, including 1,500 who sit in Breslin Center's lower bowl during games.
The Izzone wore teal colored shirts at the Wisconsin game to support the survivors and may do it again at another sporting event — if they can get more shirts, Copp said.
One option Izzone members are considering, Copp said, is a teal presence at Sunday's MSU's women's gymnastics meet at Jenison Field House.
The 1 p.m. meet is against Penn State.
Copp is expected to graduate this semester and said the Izzone's effort to assist sexual assault survivors helps him maintain his pride for MSU.
"No matter what happens, I'm still going to bleed green," Copp said. "But the way it's going right now, I almost feel guilty cheering for Michigan State."
Help from Holt
Jamie Kline, Holt High School's gymnastics coach, has also created a T-shirt fundraiser to support survivors of Nassar's.
The teal colored shirts have the words "#It'sNotAMoment #It'sAMovement" on the front. A list of the 156 survivors who came forward and gave statements at Nassar's sentencing in Ingham County are on the back. They are available online for $15.
Proceeds will go directly to a fund already set up online that's backed by at least one survivor who spoke in court, Kline said.
The fund supports counseling or any other services survivors may need to heal, Kline said. Kline said she's still working with survivors and their families to determine how money will be distributed to those in need.
To purchase a shirt, visit bit.ly/2nmpRVx.
Teal is considered the official color of April's Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Kline's fundraiser is tied to a separate one that's selling wristbands and bracelets to support the cause. To purchase them, visit bit.ly/2EtiBP1.
Kline, a 41-year-old Holt resident, has coached for 17 years and said she's coached 13 former gymnasts who said they have been sexually assaulted by Nassar.
“Shattered and heartbroken," Kline said of her feelings. "It’s one of those things where I sit back and say ‘How did I not see this?'"
News of Kline's fundraiser comes while the Holt Public Schools conducts an investigation to determine if current and former students have been assaulted by Nassar.
Holt Superintendent David Hornak encourages anyone who may have been assaulted by Nassar on school property to come forward.
The district's investigation was made public last week in Hornak's letter to parents, staffers and others.
In an email sent last week to the Lansing State Journal, Hornak said the district was made aware that Nassar abused three women — "former students of Holt and a neighboring district" — on district property.
An Indianapolis Star investigation of USA Gymnastics, begun in 2016, uncovered widespread sexual abuse of athletes and failure to alert authorities. The IndyStar, part of the USA TODAY Network, revealed the first allegations of abuse by Nassar in September 2016.
Warning for donors
Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison for seven sexual assault charges.
She received national praise for her handling of the Nassar case and listened to 156 women give victim-impact statements.
Aquilina said those who want to support the survivors of Nassar's assaults must pay close attention to where their money is going.
She's presided over several fraud cases over the years that involved people getting ripped off after they gave to what they thought were legit charities.
The Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct limits what Aquilina can do for survivors, but she's willing to spread the word of any credible efforts to assist survivors.
"I can’t raise money," Aquilina said. "Can I raise awareness? I’m happy to do that.”
The state Attorney General's Office encourages anyone who is aware of fraudulent fundraising efforts to report them to its office, said Megan Hawthorne, an office spokesperson.
The office's consumer protection division has a guide posted on its website to help people identify fraudulent fundraising practices. For information, visit bit.ly/2BHAkPz.
Sexual assault resources
There are several organizations in the Lansing area who help survivors of sexual assault, domestic abuse and related trauma. Below is a look at some in the region.
End Violent Encounters - (517) 372-5572
MSU Safe Place - (517) 355-1100
MSU Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention - (517) 372-6666
Women's Center of Greater Lansing - (517) 372-9163
Firecracker Foundation - (517) 742-7224
Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence - (517) 347-7000
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