SNAP asks, “How was Larry Nassar able to get away with so many crimes against so many girls for so long?”

For immediate release Saturday, January 27, 2018

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Executive Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network (314-503-0003[email protected])

Former US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, a serial sex offender, is finally heading to prison after twenty years of complaints against him. We applaud the many young women who have bravely shared their accounts of criminal abuse by Nassar and we offer our support as they continue their respective journeys toward healing.

And now, it is time to turn the focus on how Nassar was able to get away with so many crimes against so many girls for so long. Why, after multiple complaints were made to fellow employees of Michigan State University (MSU), was Nassar not stopped? Why were not those girls better protected from this predator at Michigan State and elsewhere? 

The good news is that complaints of sexual abuse are more likely to be believed and properly acted upon now than in the past. The bad news is that there are still individuals, agencies, and institutions who do not respond appropriately to reports of criminal abuse. 

For instance, in her resignation statement, outgoing MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon does not accept any responsibility for the criminal activity and apparent negligence occurring on the Michigan State campus. Instead, she says she is “sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person” and that “we all share the same resolve to do whatever it takes to avert such tragedies here and elsewhere.”

Where was Simon’s resolve when these young women were being assaulted, and then ignored? She was at MSU for forty years, twice as long as Nassar, climbing the ladder to the school’s top job. A weak apology hours after a perpetrator is convicted in a court of law is not leadership. Hopefully, state officials, incoming trustees, and aggressive law enforcement agents will now do what Simon never did: hold any and all of Nassar’s enablers, at least those at MSU, accountable. 

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 members. Our website is 


Barbara Dorris of St. Louis (314-503-0003[email protected]), Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175[email protected]), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434[email protected])

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