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US gymnastics team doctor Nassar pleads guilty to criminal sexual conduct in Michigan court

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Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, pleaded guilty in a Michigan court on Wednesday to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

In a press statement Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Nassar had pleaded guilty in Michigan’s Ingham County court to felony criminal sexual conduct related to abuse under the guise of medical treatment

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Nassar’s sentencing hearing has been set for January 12 when all of the 125 victims or their parents will be allowed to give victim impact statements.

Nassar was the team physician for the Michigan State University gymnastics and women’s crew teams as well as an associate professor at MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. He served as the USA Gymnastics physician through four Olympic Games.

Nassar had originally been charged with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and 11 counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct at the state level but the Michigan Attorney General’s office agreed not to file additional charges after Wednesday’s plea.

The plea deal with prosecutors calls for a minimum prison sentence of 25 years but the judge could set the minimum as high as 40 years.

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Nassar’s plea deal follows claims by two of the United States’ s most decorated gymnasts Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas that they had been sexually abused by the former USA Gymnastics team doctor.

Three-times Olympic gold medalist Douglas said on Tuesday she was sexually abused by Nassar while Raisman, also a three-times gold medalist, made similar allegations in an interview with CBS News program “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

In a statement after the plea in court on Wednesday, Vassar’s attorneys, Matt Newburg and Shannon Smith, said that the “agreement resolves all the charged and uncharged conduct for more than 125 cases currently under investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s office”. 

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(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Clive McKeef)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

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