Former MSU field hockey player alleges Larry Nassar raped her in 1992, former athletic director covered it up

Convicted serial sexual predator Larry Nassar videotaped the rape of a young Michigan State University athlete more than 25 years ago, according to an explosive lawsuit filed this week. The suit also accuses then-athletic director George Perles of stepping in and covering up the incident.

Erika Davis, who used her real name in the lawsuit, was a 17-year-old field hockey player on scholarship at MSU when she injured her knee and sought out treatment from Nassar in the spring of 1992.

She claimed the disgraced sports physician began “grooming” her for abuse during her first appointment and that she reported his conduct alongside two of her friends to MSU police in October 1992.

“This proves not only did Defendant Michigan State University have knowledge that Defendant Nassar sexually abused and sexually assaulted minors, but that it would also go to great lengths to conceal this conduct,” according to court documents.

“Defendant Michigan State University could have prevented hundreds of young girls and women from being sexually assaulted by Defendant Nassar had they only acted appropriately, decently and lawfully in 1992.”

Davis, a California native, said the rape occurred after Nassar requested she take part in a “flexibility study through the College of Osteopathic Medicine” at her initial appointment, during which he also allegedly groped her under the guise of providing a breast exam.

“During this time, a cameraman was filming Defendant Nassar’s sexual abuse,” according to the suit.

When she returned a week later, she claims, the former USA Gymnastics physician gave her a crushed-up pink pill, which she took believing it would help with her injury. Nassar again “used a camera to record the appointment.”

Davis said the pill “made her woozy” and left her unable to move her arms. She struggled to keep her eyes open and a “short time later, Erika witnessed Defendant Nassar raping her.”

Nassar then dismissed her, telling her he would see her for a followup appointment in two months.

In May 1992, Davis told her coach, Martha Hunt, about the incident, who in turn confronted Nassar and complained to the athletic director at the time. But Perles “intervened and the charges were dropped against the coach.”

That summer, Davis, who was a virgin at the time of the alleged rape, stopped menstruating. She took a pregnancy test, which came back positive, though she later suffered a miscarriage. The incident prompted her to report the alleged rape to the Michigan State University police, who then told her to report it to the athletic department.

“The detective explicitly told them that he was powerless to investigate anything that takes place to the athletic department,” according to the suit.

When Davis told the officer the department had already dismissed her case, the sergeant then allegedly responded that “George Perles is a ‘powerful man,’ and she should just drop it.”

Her friends protested, but he told them “his hands were tied and to leave the station.”

Davis stopped seeing Nassar after the incident and lost her athletic scholarship shortly after.

As a result, she “suffers anxiety, depression and a host of other issues, including a suicide attempt in 1993 and suicidal ideation at many other times.”

The former MSU athlete had long blocked out the memory, but “began to realize what had been done to her when other victims began to come forward and when she saw a video [of] her being examined by Defendant Nassar on the news.”

The lawsuit was filed Monday just as the deadline closed for Nassar’s accusers to file claims with MSU as part of the university’s $500 million settlement with more than 300 other women and young athletes who have accused school officials of turning a blind eye to Nassar’s abuse.

Nassar is serving what amounts to life behind bars after pleading guilty to child porn and sexual abuse charges.

MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant, in a statement to The Detroit News on Tuesday, apologized on behalf of the university for “the abuses of Larry Nassar.”

“While the protocols and procedures mentioned in this lawsuit do not reflect how sexual assault claims are handled at MSU, we are taking the allegations very seriously and looking into the situation,” she said.

“MSU is working diligently to create a campus community where all members feel safe to study and work free from the threat of sexual misconduct and relationship violence. At the same time, we want to make sure that when survivors of sexual assault or relationship violence come forward, they are treated with respect, listened to and that we provide the appropriate supports throughout the reporting process.”

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