Rachael Denhollander was 15 when she first saw Dr. Larry Nassar for lower back and hip pain as a result of gymnastics.
"During alleged treatment for my back, he digitally penetrated me repeatedly for extended periods of time," describes Denhollander.
After five sessions, she stopped going to him for treatment.
"Because I was uncomfortable with the procedures, I simply told him that I didn't have any further back pain."
Denhollander filed a criminal complaint in Michigan against Nassar in August for the alleged sexual abuse, and now she, and 17 other women, are taking it to a federal level.
She explains "my desire is not only to protect children from living this nightmare at the hands of Nassar, but also at the hands of any predator."
The lawsuit names Michigan State University, USA gymnastics, and gymnastics club Twistars as defendants, saying they were negligent for giving Nassar the opportunity to carry out sexual abuse.
"I was confident neither USAG, nor MSU could be unaware of his methods of treatment, and presumed therefore that it must be a legitimate medical procedure," says Denhollander. "I am grieved to know how misplaced my trust in MSU and USAG was."
The university responded with a statement saying in part "MSU's review has discovered no evidence that any individuals came forward to MSU with complaints about Nassar before Aug. 29, 2016, other than the 2014 complaint that was investigated by MSU police and our Title IX office."
That investigation found no violations, which is why women like Denhollander have told their stories:
"My hope with coming forward publicly was that it would start the process that needed to start and give other women the ability to speak."
She says this case will be a platform for more women to come forward.
MSU's full statement:
“While we cannot comment specifically on pending or ongoing litigation, we are deeply disturbed by the state and federal criminal charges against Larry Nassar, and our hearts go out to those directly affected.
The criminal investigation into Larry Nassar is a top priority for MSU Police. Detectives are vigorously reviewing all complaints and working through them with the state Attorney General’s office and federal U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Additionally, the university began an internal review in September, looking at all aspects of operations involving Nassar’s work at the university. It will continue as new information and/or allegations are brought forward. An external law firm is advising MSU on the review, which will result in disciplinary action if appropriate. Also, MSU initiated a separate review looking closely at our clinic policies and operations to determine if there are steps we should take to make improvements.
To date, MSU’s review has discovered no evidence that any individuals came forward to MSU with complaints about Nassar before Aug. 29, 2016, other than the 2014 complaint that was investigated by MSU Police and our Title IX office.”
USAG's full statement:
“USA Gymnastics finds the allegations against Dr. Nassar very disturbing. When we first learned of athlete concerns regarding Dr. Nassar in the summer of 2015, we immediately notified the FBI and relieved him of any further assignments. USA Gymnastics has fully cooperated with the FBI in its investigation. We find it appalling that anyone would exploit a young athlete or child in this manner, and we are grateful to the athletes who have come forward.”