MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, Mich/February 01, 2018(AP)(STL.News)— A woman whose assault complaint against Larry Nassar was dismissed without charges being filed in 2004 accepted an apology years later Thursday from a Michigan police chief who said, “We wish we had this one back.”
Brianne Randall-Gay was 17 when she told Meridian Township police that Nassar had molested her with ungloved hands when she sought help for her back. Officers, however, closed the case after the Michigan State University sports doctor offered an aggressive defense and said he was using a legitimate medical technique.
“It should have been passed on to another expert and it wasn’t,” said police Chief Dave Hall, who called that misstep the “downfall” of the investigation.
Randall-Gay, who participated in the news conference by video from Washington state, said the public apology eases her pain but doesn’t “erase the pain I’ve suffered” since 2004.
“I felt like my complaint was ignored. I felt like I was ignored,” she recalled.
Nassar, who also was a doctor for the U.S. women‘s Olympic gymnastics team, subsequently assaulted many more girls after 2004, penetrating them with his hands, according to authorities. He was sentenced last week to 40 to 175 years in prison, and faces another long sentence next week.
At least 265 women and girls have said they were assaulted in Michigan and elsewhere, some going back to the 1990s.
Hall and township Manager Frank Walsh first reached out to Randall-Gay a few weeks ago and paid for her to travel to Michigan to testify as a victim at Nassar‘s sentencing. She said she cried when she received their phone call.
“We were deceived. We wish we had this one back,” Hall said.
Meridian Township is next to Michigan State in the Lansing area. In the old police report released Wednesday, Randall-Gay and her mother told investigators that they had visited Nassar to discuss treatment for scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. He sent her to physical therapy but saw her again, this time alone.
She told police that Nassar had removed her underwear, forcibly cupped her genitals with his hand and rubbed her breasts — all without gloves.
“She thought it was ‘weird’ and it ‘freaked her out,'” the police report says.
Nassar told police he applied pressure to the “perineum,” using a formal word for an area between the legs, and said it was done to manipulate a ligament, according to the report.
He provided a paper version of a PowerPoint presentation about the ligament procedure, titled “The Grand Junction.” The case was closed.
Nassar presented officers with a “stack of medical journals this high,” Walsh told reporters Thursday, raising his arm. “He duped us.”
It was not the only investigation over the years. A Michigan State University police investigation ended in 2014 with no charges filed. Another investigation by the university, required under federal anti-discrimination law, cleared Nassar of assault.