Dr. Larry Nassar, who is already sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for sexual assaulting children, faces six new charges of sexual assault of a child. Gymnastics trainer Debra Van Horn is charged with one count of sexual assault of a child. The charges come after two victims that trained with USA Gymnastics at Karolyi Ranch came forward and the Walker County District Attorney believes there are more victims.
“These victims deserve to be heard because they deserve justice it really comes down to being fairly simple if you look at it that way,” says District Attorney David Weeks.
At the Walker County Courthouse in Huntsville on Friday afternoon, Weeks, along with many others involved in the case, shared the news that the national investigation into Dr. Larry Nassar and trainer Debra Van Horn was far from over.
On October 31, 2016, the district attorney's office received a report that involved Nassar at the Karolyi Ranch in Walker County. Since then, a total of six victims have come forward.
“It is our belief that there was a total failure by USAG to protect the athletes that were a part of the program and to take appropriate action once they were made aware of Dr. Nassar‘s actions," says assistant district attorney Stephanie Stroud.
“They received information and did not act on it timely and didn’t inform other people like the Karolyis that was what was going on," adds Weeks. "They all thought it was being investigated.”
Failure to report child abuse is a misdemeanor violation and the statute of limitations is two years. By the time the Walker County Sheriff's Office begin its investigation, the statute of limitations had already passed on offenses that may have been committed.
Weeks says USA Gymnastics was made aware of these allegations of June 2015 and did nothing.
“There were so many chances for something to be done and it wasn’t," says Weeks. "I think the Karolyi Ranch has been painted with a brush that will not, will not be allowed to be forgotten and Nassar did not work for them. The people that had control over him failed.”
Weeks says that Bela and Martha Karolyi have not been charged with anything and are fully cooperating with the Walker County Sheriff's Office and all agencies investigating this case. He also says he does believe that there may potential he be more victims and ask anyone that knows anything to come forward.
USA Gymnastics released the following statement:
We are sorry that any athlete was harmed during his or her gymnastics career. The best way to honor the incredibly brave women who spoke out about Larry Nassar is to demonstrate every day our commitment to doing everything possible to prevent this from happening again. USA Gymnastics supports and is fully cooperating with the investigations by the Texas Rangers, Congress and others, and we will continue do so. Nassar has been and will remain incarcerated for up to 175 years for the horrific crimes he committed. USA Gymnastics is dedicated to creating a highly empowered culture that encourages and supports our athletes while pursuing their gymnastics dreams in a safe environment. We hope everything we do going forward makes this very clear. Due to the pending litigation and ongoing investigation, however, we are unable to comment further.
Regarding Debbie Van Horn, USA Gymnastics responded with the following:
Debbie Van Horn is no longer an employee of USA Gymnastics. We have no information as to the basis for any charges against her.