Lawyer claims Karolyis are lying in lawsuit

The attorney representing more than 150 of Larry Nassar's abuse victims says Martha and Bela Karolyi knew about sexual misconduct allegations against Nassar in 2015 -- not 2016, as the Karolyis claimed in a lawsuit they recently filed against two national gymnastics organizations.

Posted: May 5, 2018 7:15 PM
Updated: May 5, 2018 7:15 PM

The attorney representing more than 150 of Larry Nassar's abuse victims says Martha and Bela Karolyi knew about sexual misconduct allegations against Nassar in 2015 -- not 2016, as the Karolyis claimed in a lawsuit they recently filed against two national gymnastics organizations.

Attorney John Manly deposed Martha Karolyi last year as part of a civil lawsuit filed by former gymnast Mattie Larson, which claims that the Karolyis "turned a blind-eye to the perpetrator Nassar's sexual abuse of children at the Ranch."

The couple, who have denied any wrongdoing, ran the famed Karolyi Ranch training center, a 2,000-acre compound about 70 miles north of Houston. It became the US Women's National Team Training Center in 2001 and a US Olympic Training Site in 2011 -- during many of the same years Nassar was the national team doctor.

In the sworn deposition taken in connection with the lawsuit filed by Larson, Karolyi said under oath that she learned about a molestation complaint involving Nassar in June 2015.

According to the transcript of the deposition, which was obtained exclusively by CNN earlier this year, Manly asked Karolyi: "Were you ever advised by any USAG official in or around June 2015 that they had received a complaint that Dr. Nassar had molested a National Team gymnast at the ranch?"

Karolyi answered, "Yes, I did."

Manly asked: "And who reported that to you, ma'am?"

Karolyi replied: "Mr. Penny."

Steve Penny was then the CEO of USA Gymnastics who resigned last year amid the sexual abuse scandal.

Gary Jewell, the Karolyis' attorney, told CNN Friday he did not have an immediate statement regarding the discrepancy in the date but will respond later.

In the lawsuit recently filed by the Karolyis against the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, the couple said they were first informed of possible misconduct by Nassar in 2015, but that "USAG never mentioned that the alleged mistreatment was potentially sexual assault nor did they relay the nature of the treatments at issue."

"The Karolyis first learned of the exact nature of Nassar's conduct leading to his dismissal -- e.g. allegations of sexual misconduct -- sometime after the 2016 Summer Olympics," their lawsuit says.

After Nassar, the former US national women's Olympic team doctor, was arrested on child pornography charges in December 2016, the Karolyis received notice from USA Gymnastics that it would terminate the purchase and sale agreement of their ranch.

The Karolyis are suing the two organizations for canceling the purchase, citing the "breaches of contract and duties owed to plaintiffs which have resulted in severe damages to plaintiffs' reputation, health, and real property."

Manly said the Karolyis "shameful attempt portray themselves as victims of Larry Nassar in their recent lawsuit against USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee is an insult" to the gymnasts molested by Nassar.

The former physician admitted in court to using his influence as a trusted medical doctor to sexually abuse young girls over two decades. In January, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.

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