LANSING, Mich. — For the second time this year, the former longtime team doctor for USA Gymnastics has been arrested, this time on federal child pornography charges
Michigan officials previously charged Larry Nassar in November with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person younger than 13.
The new arrest on Friday is based on a federal indictment in which Nassar is charged with receipt and attempted receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography. The indictment says that between 2003 and this year, Nassar possessed “thousands of images of child pornography”.
Allegations against Nassar surfaced after an IndyStar investigation in August revealed top officials at USA Gymnastics failed to report many allegations they received regarding sexual abuse to police or child welfare authorities.
In September, IndyStar first reported sexual abuse allegations against Nassar by two women, including an Olympic medal winner. After that story, more than 50 people filed sexual assault complaints about the osteopathic physician with police at Michigan State University, where Nassar worked at a clinic. The abuse is alleged to have occurred from 1996 to 2016.
Before his arrest Friday, Nassar was free on $1 million bond on the state charges, which carry a potential sentence of life in prison.
Nassar's latest arrest came one day after IndyStar published an investigaton revealing at least 368 gymnasts had made sexual abuse allegations against coaches, gym owners and other adults working in the sport, including Nassar, over the last 20 years.
Nassar worked as the team doctor for USA Gymnastics for nearly 30 years, accompanying America's top gymnasts to four Olympic Games and numerous international competitions.
USA Gymnastics said it cut ties with Nassar in 2015 in response to “athlete concerns,” and alerted the FBI.
But USA Gymnastics let it appear that Nassar had retired, which allowed the osteopathic physician to continue working with gymnasts in Michigan and athletes at Michigan Sate University for nearly a year. USA Gymnastics told IndyStar the FBI prohibited officials from telling anyone about the investigation.
The two women who shared their stories with IndyStar said the alleged molestation occurred during multiple treatments in the 1990s and early 2000s. The two women, who were juveniles at the time, said the doctor fondled their genitals and breasts.
One of them said Nassar also spoke about oral sex and made other inappropriate comments when they were alone, according to court records. The other woman said she told police Nassar was visibly aroused as he examined her during one medical visit.
The state charges filed in November did not, however, involve a gymnast.
The victim in that case was "just a child. A little child," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said last month. Court documents say the abuse occurred between 1998 and 2005.
"She provides fortitude to every woman, every girl and every daughter," Schuette said of the victim, who's referred to in court documents as "Victim A."
The attorney general said at the time that the three felony charges against Nassar are the "tip of the iceberg."
He added "many, many" complaints have been made against Nassar, and "we are hopeful that other victims may step forward."
"The guy was a predator ... we'll get the conviction," Schuette said at a news conference.
Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor arrested on child porn charges Matt Mencarini Tim Evans, The Indianapolis Star December 16, 2016
A Go Pro contained video of Nassar molesting girls in a pool.
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Police say 61-year-old Marvin Sontz, who owns the Del Lanes bowling alley in Delmar, sent an image of child porn to a child in Bethlehem through social media
Ottawa Police say 36-year-old David Sharpe was charged after an ongoing international investigation into a photo-sharing website
John Lockman Beebe, 56, was originally charged with 16 counts of possession of child pornography. Each charge was linked to a photograph found on Beebe’s computer
He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2013 for storing child pornography on the social media site Tumblr. Prosecutors said he had at least 30 videos of child porn, and that he allowed them to be shared with other people
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Dr. David S. Kennedy, 48, who operated a medical practice in Pennsburg called Personal Care Pediatrics, was being held on $250,000 for having photographs of underage children on his phone
Stephen Kyle Goodlett a Kentucky high school principal was indicted on 60 counts of possession and three counts of distribution of matter portraying a sex performance by a minor
Michael David McGowens, 27, was charged with six counts of sexual exploitation of minors
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office made the arrest on Dec. 15 after Wilson said investigators learned McGowens was involved in downloading and distributing child pornography.
Easley man charged with multiple counts of sexual exploitation of minors December 21st 2016 Dal Kalsi
Serial rapist Richard Anthony Baker, who is serving four life sentences, downloaded disgusting images and videos after becoming obsessed with child rape over five months at a medium secure mental health unit in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
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Kik – a mobile chat app available for download on smartphones (iOS and Android) as well as tablets – was used, according to police, by the Belleville suspect, Ethan Z. Chandler, 42, the operator of a video production company (Primetime Sports) that features sports events filmed at schools in the region, when he “engaged in sexually explicit chats” with an individual the suspect believed was a 13-year-old boy but who, in fact, was an undercover cop.
Camm said that Kik is wildly popular with teens.
“Kids are flocking to it,” he said, because even if parents look to check out their child’s phone, “they’re generally unaware of [this app]” and, unfortunately, “predators are going there” to try and chat up kids.
Before Chandler got to Kik, though, he placed an ad on Craigslist soliciting oral sex with a young man, police said. When the undercover cop responded, Chandler invited the “13-year-old” to use Kik to communicate further with him, police said. (Chandler is awaiting prosecution on charges of sexual assault and criminal sexual assault in several incidents involving a teen boy in his Belleville apartment.)
While Craigslist can be a vehicle for conducting legitimate business, it can also expose the user to what Camm called an “underbelly” in its “personals” and “discussion forums” which “cater to every type of sexuality.”
And because would-be predators are posting ads that are carefully phrased to say something like “they’re looking for contact with young people, it’s vague enough” so that it may not afford strong enough grounds for the site operator to delete them.
Another potential “time bomb,” Camm continued, is Snapchat which gives teens a forum for “sending inappropriate photos and/or videos” that cannot be deleted once they are “out there.”
A web-based site called Omegle invites the user to “activate a web-cam and mic” and “talk to a stranger,” Camm said. And there is no log in required, “so you’re anonymous.”
“Kids get on the site and they have ‘Omegle parties,’ they can see adult nudity, for example, and predators are recording (with) screen-capture programs. It’s very scary and, unlike Craigslist, there’s no redeeming feature here – there’s no good reason for kids to be on it,” the detective said.
In “Chatstep.com,” Camm said the user is directed to a “retro-style text community chat room” which “requires no user name” to enter and which allows users to “create their own rooms with or without a password to enter” and where users “can share pictures and videos – there’s a ton of child porn being thrown around there.”
And, Camm added, there are the “encrypted containers,” apps that are “password-protected” and often “disguised” by seemingly innocuous names like “calculator” designed to throw off probing parents.
NJSP investigators are doing all they can to nab the bad guys, Camm said, but because tracking Internet-based suspects is much more tricky than grabbing a suspect off a street, it’s often a frustrating, time-consuming effort.
Another factor weighting against the anti-predator campaign, he said, is that sheer number of offenders is ever-expanding. “It’s something way more prevalent than anyone would expect,” he said. “I’ve been doing this eight years now and every year, we’ve been getting more complaints. Cyber tips come in every day – hundreds each month. It’s non-stop.”
A big help to the DTIU, said Camm, is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “They’re a big source of information for us.”
Also of assistance is the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline (888-648-6007) which accepts information – on a confidential basis – about online distribution of child porn or suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children online or possible sexual abuse of children.
What can parents do on their own to help protect their kids against potential predators?
Parents can acquire any of a variety of “tech options” to ride herd on their kids’ electronic explorations such as consulting their cell phone provider, searching their phones or monitoring software via such systems as “Rakkoon” (iOS), “TeenSafe” (Android) and “Circle” (Home), among others, Camm said.
But parents should realize, he cautioned, “that technology can always be thwarted – today’s kids are smart and they can find a way around it.”
And, he said, given that kids’ “main conduit to the Internet is through their cell phone,” often the best course is to “restrict the use of or eliminate their smartphone – give them a flip phone, instead.”
“Most important,” Camm said, “is to communicate with your children about the kind of information they’re putting out there. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. Sometimes a child will inadvertently go onto a bad site and see stuff and if you can establish trust with them, the best thing is getting your kids to come and tell you when they find it.”