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Texas governor wants Karolyi Ranch investigated as part of Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal

Karolyi Ranch sign
Some of Larry Nassar’s victims say they were assaulted while training at the Karolyi Ranch, a longtime USA Gymnastics training site in Huntsville, Texas.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The governor of Texas has ordered an investigation into whether Larry Nassar, the disgraced sports doctor accused of molesting scores of young athletes, might have committed some of his crimes at the famed Karolyi Ranch gymnastics training center.

Young female athletes — most of them gymnasts — have said Nassar sexually assaulted them under the guise of providing medical treatment while he served in an official capacity for Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

For the record:
12:00 AM, Feb. 01, 2018 This article says Larry Nassar was convicted of molesting scores of young athletes. Nassar has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct and has been accused of many additional molestations.

The 54-year-old has been sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexual abuse and another 60 for child pornography crimes, and faces additional counts in another case.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott called on the Texas Rangers, the state’s top criminal investigations unit, to address allegations made by some of Nassar’s victims who say they were assaulted while training at the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas. The former national team site is run by the husband-and-wife coaching duo of Bela and Martha Karolyi.

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Some gymnasts have said the Karolyis and others, including the USOC, failed to adequately monitor Nassar as he treated girls and young women on the premises.

“The public statements made by athletes who previously trained at the Karolyi Ranch are gut-wrenching,” Abbott said in a letter to the state Department of Public Safety. “Those athletes, as well as all Texans, deserve to know that no stone is left unturned to ensure that the allegations are thoroughly vetted and the perpetrators and enablers of any such misconduct are brought to justice.”

Earlier this month, USA Gymnastics announced it was severing its ties to the Karolyi Ranch and would hold national camps elsewhere. Simone Biles and other top gymnasts had expressed dread at the prospect of returning to train at the facility because of painful memories there.

Nassar faces his next sentencing in an Eaton County, Mich., courtroom where later this week more than 50 victims are expected to give impact statements.The scene could be similar to last week’s hearing in another Michigan court where more than 150 victims came forward.

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The current proceedings focus on Nassar’s involvement with the Twistars gym, which was run by John Geddert, a former Olympic coach recently suspended by USA Gymnastics.

Abbott noted those cases, saying: “Considering that criminal action has been implicated across multiple jurisdictions and states, it is essential that the Texas Rangers … comprehensively investigate all potential criminal conduct.”

david.wharton@latimes.com

Twitter: @LAtimesWharton


UPDATES:

5:10 p.m.: This articles has been updated with more details about the pending investigation.

10:40 a.m.: This article has been updated with staff reporting.

This article was originally published at 9:40 a.m.

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