Lawsuit: Nassar raped former MSU athlete on video in 1992, Perles covered it up

Published: Sep. 11, 2018 at 12:31 PM EDT
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A new lawsuit filed this week claims former sports doctor Larry Nassar sexually assaulted a Michigan State scholarship athlete on video and that former MSU Athletic Director George Perles knew about it.

According to the lawsuit filed Monday, plaintiff Erika Davis was a 17-year-old field hockey player who received a scholarship to play at MSU.

During spring practice in 1992, Davis injured her knee. Former field hockey coach Martha Ludwig recommended Davis see Nassar for treatment, which she did, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states Nassar's "grooming" of Davis began at her first appointment in early 1992. He asked her about her future career aspirations, family, whether she had ever done gymnastics and if she had ever had a vaginal exam. Davis says a cameraman was present at this appointment. Nassar asked her to participate in a flexibility study he was conducting through the College of Osteopathic Medicine. Because she was under the age of 18, she would need her coach's consent to participate.

Davis claims Nassar gave her a breast exam and got her nipples hard by using his hands and his mouth. Davis says the cameraman was filming at the time.

According to the lawsuit, Nassar asked her to return in a week for a full female exam, which she did.

She claims she was given a crushed pill at that appointment, which caused her to get woozy and couldn't keep her eyes open. Davis, who was a virgin at the time, says that's when she was raped by Nassar, an incident that was recorded. Davis says she told Ludwig what happened, and Ludwig demanded the video from Nassar. Ludwig then went to former Athletic Director George Perles, who intervened and forced the coach to return the tape to Nassar, resign and sign a non-disclosure agreement. The lawsuit alleges that Ludwig made and retained a copy of the video.

The lawsuit states that Davis realized she was pregnant later that summer and the only person that could have impregnated her was Nassar. A few weeks later, she miscarried, according to the suit.

In October 1992, friends finally convinced Davis to report what happened.

The lawsuit claims Davis reported the rape to the MSU Police Department, which told her she would have to report that to the Athletic Department because she was an athlete. When she told the police department about Perles, the detective said he was powerless to investigate and she should just drop it, according to the lawsuit.

Davis never returned to Nassar and eventually lost her scholarship. She says she carried the effects of the rape all her life and had repressed the memories of what happened until February 2018, when she started seeing reports about Nassar and his victims on the news. She says she struggled for years with anxiety, depression and also tried to kill herself. She says she would avoid gynecological exams due to the trauma she experienced with Nassar. She said that when she finally did go, she was told she was infected with HPV, which she says caused her cervical cancer.

The lawsuit names several defendants, including Nassar, Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and Twistars. It also names several former and current employees at MSU, including Kathie Klages, William Strampel, Jeffrey Kovan and Gary Stollack. The lawsuit cites several violations ranging from Title IX violations and negligence, to fraud, assault and battery, and failing to report child abuse.