In a series of newly-released police interrogation videos, Larry Nassar repeatedly blames his victims for misunderstanding his treatment. At one point, he claims, “That’s my self-torture, I guess you could say. Yes, she was victimized. Yes, I was victimized, to myself.”
In those videos, Nassar admits to performing invasive treatments on his patients and even penetrating them, but ultimately blames his victims for their alleged lack of “communication.”
The videos were originally obtained by WXYZ in Detroit through Freedom of Information Act requests.
Spanning over three hours in length, the interviews are based on complaints filed against Nassar in 2014 and 2016. Each time, the interviews were conducted by officers with the Michigan State University (MSU) Police Department. And each time, Nassar managed to talk his way out of being charged over those complaints.
In August 2014, a graduate student complained to MSU police that Nassar sexually assaulted her during an appointment. Nassar said he was pre-apprised of the complaint from his colleague, Dr. Jeffrey Kovan. MSU Police Capt. Valerie O’Brien asks, “What else did he tell you?” To which Nassar replies:
That she felt violated, that I was doing, like I touched her breast and I moved her underwear out of the way. And I’m like, yeah. I do that all the time.
Apparently because Nassar was tipped off as to the context of that first interview, he brought a laptop computer containing videos of himself conducting medical treatments which required contact with intimate parts of women’s and girls’ bodies.
At one point, Nassar says, attempting to explain the touching, “This is a treatment that I lecture on. I lecture on not only here at Michigan State. I was the keynote guest speaker in Australia to the Australian Olympic sports medicine for this very technique.”
O’Brien counters, “She said that she felt like you were massaging her breast and that was not part of the manipulation that you were doing.” Nassar responds, “It’s the rib cage, you know what I mean? You’re going to be on the chest wall, you move the breast down, you move the breast down to get down to the wall. It’s like giving someone a mammogram almost.”
During the 2014 interview, the subject of previous accusations comes up. Nassar admits that he has been accused three times in the past, but then pathologizes each of his alleged victims by making an explicit reference to their supposed histories of sexual abuse. He says:
There has been a few times where that has been brought up. Okay? And each and every time they were sexually abused. So, that’s what, that’s what I’m saying, when they’re uncomfortable about that, there’s been three cases. And all three of them were sexually abused. Okay? So that’s why I’m like, yeah. That’s why I’m like, is there something more? What am I missing?
After more than two hours of questioning, Nassar was released. Following that 2014 interview, MSU Police attempted to bring charges against Nassar, but the Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office decided against endorsing those charges.
Two years passed. Nassar found himself being questioned by MSU Police once again. This time, a complaint was filed by Rachael Denhollander, another of Nassar’s previous patients.
In 2016, during the second interview, Lieutenant Andrea Munford presses Nassar on explicit details about his past treatment of Denhollander. Shes asks, “Do you ever get aroused during these exams?” Nassar appears taken aback. He says, “Do I get aroused during the exam?” Munford pushes on, repeating her question, “Do you ever get an erection? The reason why I’m talking about this is because this young girl and her mother both observed this on more than one occasion during treatment.”
To this, Nassar doesn’t have much of a defense. He says, “If there was arousal it’s, it’s, it’s…you know what I mean? It would be because of, whatever, I don’t know.” Munford isn’t convinced. She attempts to clarify, asking, “Well, what do you meant whatever?” Nassar replies, “When you’re a guy, sometimes you get an erection.”
Earlier this year, Nassar was found guilty on a range of charges related to his past abuse of patients and separate federal child pornography charges. He faces up to 175 years in prison.
[image via Law&Crime Network; video courtesy WXYZ Detroit]