Police arrested the former physician of the USA Gymnastics team and charged him with three counts of criminal sexual conduct against a person under 13 years old. The arrest comes after over 50 individuals have made public allegations of sexual abuse against the doctor.

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Dr. Larry Nassar, 53, a former faculty member at Michigan State University, served as the official USA Gymnastics physicians through four Olympics. Records show the group let Nassar go last year. He pled ‘not guilty’ to the charges during his Tuesday arraignment and was subsequently released after posting bail. If convicted, he faces the possibility of a life sentence.

In addition to the criminal charges, Nassar also is in the midst of a California civil lawsuit. Filed in September, the suit names both Nassar and the USA Gymnastics as liable for Nassar’s groping and fondling two gymnasts during official physical therapy sessions. It comes less than a year after a flurry of allegations were launched at top USA Gymnastics executives for failing to alert authorities of known abuse accusations.

The California lawsuit lists a “Jane Doe” and Rachael Denhollander as the complaintifs. The suit alleges Nassar penetrated Denhollander with his fingers and inappropriately fondled her when she was 15. It additionally accuses USA Gymanstic officials of knowing Nassar faced previous accusations of inappropriate touching but refused to act or alert authorities. While not detailing specific instances, the suit further alleges the USA Gymnastics organization even actively covered up accusations.

The organization has refuted such allegations. “USA Gymnastics today learned about the charges against Dr. Larry Nassar through a media report,” they wrote in a statement. “As we previously have made clear, when USA Gymnastics first learned of athlete concerns regarding Dr. Nassar, those concerns were reported to the FBI and Nassar was dismissed from further involvement with USA Gymnastics. We are unable to comment further due to the ongoing FBI investigation and pending litigation.”

Yet, the allegations against officials continue. In addition to the California lawsuit and the criminal charges, attorneys representing 15 other ex-patients of Dr. Nassar say they are planning to file suit against Michigan State University. The group alleges that Nassar also molested them during purported medical exams.

“We intend to demonstrate that Michigan State University received complaints regarding Dr. Nassar and failed to properly investigate, discipline, and sanction Dr. Nassar for his abusvie and harassing conduct,” lead attorney Stephen Drew said in a media statement announcing his firm’s notice of intent to sue.


NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — The ex-wife of disgraced former Subway Jared Fogel is filing a civil lawsuit against the sandwich franchise. The suit alleges executives knew of Fogel’s sexual interest in children prior to his outing but refused to act.

Kathleen McLaughlin alleges Subway authorities repeatedly ignored reliable complaints due to their market interests. The company chose instead to promote Fogle as a family man, even after learning of “Fogle’s sexual interest in and activity with children”. The suit further blasts the company for sending him to speak with children as part of the company’s educational division.

Fogle is currently serving a 15-year prison term after pleading guilty to possession or distribution of child pornography and traveling across state lines to engage in sex with a minor.

“As early as 2004, Subway’s then-senior vice president of marketing received a complaint that Jared had approached a young girl at a promotional event for a Las Vegas franchise for a sex act,” the suit alleges.

However, instead of sending a representative to speak with the victim about the incident or alerting authorities as required by law for all sexual-based accusations between an adult and minor, the situation virtually disappeared. A senior public-relations manager talked with Jared and a franchise owner but nothing came of the incident. According to the lawsuit, “Subway’s ambition for sales and growth” was motive enough to ignore Fogle’s indiscretion.

Then in 2008, the suit continues, Florida franchise owner Cindy Mills told three company executives about a distressing conversation in which Fogel boasted of sex with minors as young as 9. Subway officials did nothing but send another team member to talk with Fogel.

In 2011, a Florida journalist went through the company’s website to make her own complaint about Fogel’s interest in children. While the company failed to act yet again, it was that same journalist who took her concerns to the FBI.  Together, they began what would be a four-year investigation into Fogel’s proclivities.

Fogel continued to be a Subway spokesman until his arrest in July 2015.

Earlier in 2015, the company debuted a commercial depicting animated versions of Jared’s family, including his wife and children, to purportedly capitalize on family marketing. This depiction is also being attacked in McLaughlin’s suit as she alleges the company never obtained ‘proper consent’ to feature her or the children.

“Subway exploited his family despite knowing of allegations that Jared was a pedophile and failing to properly investigate those allegations,” McLaughlin writes, asserting that she and her children have suffered “severe emotional distress” due to the company’s negligence.

The lawsuit requests compensation for such “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” but doesn’t specific an amount.


PALMDALE, Calif. — David Wayne Hoyle, 49, received a 104-year prison sentence this week for sexually abusing two children and beating a third.

A Los Angeles jury convicted Hyle of 11 total felony counts against three younger family members. The convictions include felony counts of sexual abuse and molestation with two young girls, ages 7 and 8, within his family. They also include criminal threats and corporal injury to a 7-year-old-boy, also related, described as a “beating” by court documents. These acts occurred between September 2011 and July 2014.

The District Attorney also charged Hoyle with two misdemeanor counts of lewd practices in the presence of a minor. The prosecutors allege the minor was the 7-year-old-boy but dismissed those charges just before trial.

Law enforcement officials arrested Hoyle in May 2015 at his home in Davidson, North Carolina, where he moved to following the abuse. Officers extradited Hoyle to a California prison where he waited until his trial date. At the time of the arrest, he was on probation for a 2013 misdemeanor domestic violence conviction.

Sadly, child sexual abuse perpetrated by a family member is not at all uncommon. Where just 10% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child, 30% of perpetrators are family members. Such intrafamilial sexual abuse is a shattering event for the entire family. It is incredibly difficult for most children to come forward about their abuse. Especially when the abuser is someone who they were taught to trust and rely on. Disclosure gets even more difficult when that abuser is well-liked and admired by other family members.

Children who have been sexually abused by a family member are much more likely to bury the actions and blame themselves than those whose perpetrators were a person outside the family. This is even more prevalent among older children who understand on how their disclosure will impact family dynamics.

Due to this, it can often take children who were victims of intrafamilial sexual abuse months or even years before talking about their abuse.

The Hoyle case is another example of such delay as the abuse occurred for three years until the children made their outcry.


In most election cycles, voters expect to hear candidates shout political accusations and make strong campaign statements on what they believe. Those who are interested in the debates tune in, while those who aren’t, tune out and say no thanks to political diatribes. At least, such was possible for most until this year. This election cycle has become something of a nightmare for sexual abuse survivors. For them, the unexpected emphasis and repeat emphasis on sexual behaviors is an inescapable trigger of their own assault.

Triggers are anything that reminds a person so vividly and acutely of an attack or assault that they cannot control their reactions. They are a part of post-traumatic stress disorder and can be anything that reminds a person of an attack. Triggers may result in a physical, emotional, or mental response.

With PTSD, most peoples’ thoughts turn to soldiers for whom a single car backfire can take them back to feeling as if they are under siege. However, PTSD is also prevalent among survivors of sexual abuse. Something as simple as the smell of a man’s cologne can bring a person physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally back to the time of their attack. They may even feel the presence of their attacker. Symptoms include a sudden gut clenching, general ease, loss of breath or mental return to repressed memories.

Unfortunately, while the general population is ready to accept that fireworks can trigger PTSD in veterans, sexual abuse survivors are in need of some campaigning.

Shortly before the second debate, reporters leaked a video of a younger Donald Trump. In it, the presidential nominee boasted of his unfettered ability to grope and assault women. In response to that recording, Trump’s campaign and supporters brought new light to sexual assault accusations against former President Bill Clinton. They also accused presidential nominee Hilary Clinton of being complicit in those and other affairs.

Regardless of the validity of those sexual allegations and others against Trump, the problem goes beyond party lines.  It is the language itself and the manner in which allegations have been handled that has had a triggering impact on sexual abuse survivors.

What some survivors found most troubling was the dismissal of recorded graphic phrases about sexual assault as “locker room talk” by media pundits, candidate supporters, and the candidate himself. Where the initial vulgar language and alleged acts triggered a reminder of an assault for some, such a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude is itself just as damaging and just as triggering for others.

One good thing to come from this incident is the national discussion of what constitutes sexual assault, and the effects these actions have on victims.

In the weekend following the Trump video leak, the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network saw 33% increase in their hotline traffic. When blogger Kelly Oxford invited followers to share their stories of sexual assaults, she received almost 27 million responses in just three days.

“I have PTSD from being assaulted and, to me, it was indicative of how prevalent rape culture is and how much it can be blown off as ‘boys will be boys,” sexual assault survivor Sarah Fader wrote. “Those kind of statements are what rationalizes these assaults.”

Kudos to these women for sharing their stories, and allowing others to heal through this.


Earlier this month, NBC leaked a video in which a national figure was caught bragging, in explicit and vulgar terms, about kissing, groping, and trying to have sex with women. The nonconsensual actions talked about in this video would certainly constitute as sexual assault if carried out. The incident was dismissed as “locker room talk.” An excuse that struck many assault victims and experts as tone deaf and dangerous.

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Sociologist C.J. Pascoe responded to the incident using her own experience of studying high school behavior and norms. “Locker room talk is not ‘just words.’ It is not funny. It is not harmless. And it is certainly not limited to the locker room. This kind of sex talk is a central part of normative masculinity in the global West. It is a way in which some men simultaneously endorse and dodge such endorsement of sexual assault.”

Researchers estimate that as many as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. Additionally, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted during their college years. Most of these incidents will be by someone the victim knew and will go unreported. For many victims, the dismissal of Trump’s speech as “locker room talk” contributes to the rape culture environment.

If there has been any positivity in this situation, it has been how victim took ownership to shed light on the issue. Millions of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse survivors took to social media to share their stories. Many have seen this as a much-needed collective, countrywide purge of painful and often silenced memories.

“It’s the dismissing of this behavior because ‘it’s the way it has always been’.” Los Angeles retail executive Jill Gallenstein, 40, wrote on Facebook. “It’s justifying the behavior because other powerful men have done it too. ‘Locker room talk’ normalizes this behavior — what we say matters.”

To fight sexual abuse and assault, victims need space to come forward to call out sexual predators.  Labeling locker room as unacceptable gives those victims a sense of validity so they may feel more confident in their outcry.