How medical bullshit and authority helped Larry Nassar get away with it

Originally published at:


I think, sadly, that it begins with contempt for victims of sexual assault, and is only tangentially abetted by dumb respect for the doctor :cry:


Enablers need to start going down too. The penalty for enabling sexual abuse has to become higher than whatever financial or societal bullshit keeps people from addressing this shit when it hits them on the fucking forehead. My wife was raging after listening to a podcast about this story. and from parents to police, everyone seems to have FUCKED UP in protecting these girls.


One of the silver linings in this case is that a few are, including some of those named in this story: Steve Penny, Larry Nassar and others criminally charged in USA Gymnastics scandal

So at least five people could end up doing time over it.

The detective who told a victim to go pound sand did some groveling but not as far as I know in public.


The Penn State case worked out pretty good too. I think the message is getting out that it’s not okay to look the other way, but of course there’s some die-hard fans who disagree.


As long as women can be subjected to pelvic exams while anethsitized for unrelated surgery, I dont see how Big Medicine is going to be any help in this at all.


This. And two other things are badly needed.

There needs to be legally mandated protocols for seeking second, and maybe even third and at least one outside the department, opinions in police investigations where decisions about the case are contingent on the expertise of a suspect or person of interest. I don’t expect law enforcement to know everything about technical fields, but it’s a dereliction of their responsibility not to seek outside experts, which in this case would be at least one and preferably two different doctors specializing in the relevant field of medicine. Since cops cannot be trusted to use their discretion in this and departments will hide behind complaints that investigation is hard work and expensive anyways, it simply needs to be made a legal requirement.

And second, there needs to be legal requirements for organizations to report sexual assault allegations to real law enforcement and not their in-house rent-a-cops, with failure to do so being made a crime. Time to stop trusting the foxes to watch the hen houses.


Another issue is that the local law enforcement apparatus was frankly broken. Ingham County prosecutor Stuart Dunnings had refused to press charges against Larry Nassar; Dunnings later served time for among other things abusing his power to coerce sex from a woman.

See here:

And here:

I’ll add that the current chancellor, former governor John Engler, seems far more interested in forgetting about the whole damn episode than in making sure it doesn’t happen again.


Hi Rob, Just FYI, Howley’s article is in New York, not the New Yorker. Cheers.

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Thanks, @Will_Wilkinson – I’ve fixed it.

I’d like to think that faced with that sort of medical bullshit I might at least think about getting a second opinion.


And they should do that in every instance. But this sort of case is especially egregious because the only expert consulted was the suspect. It’s like someone saying, “Trust me detective, I didn’t murder him; I’m an expert in murder and can show you exactly why it wasn’t murder! But it’s complicated and might look like murder to your untrained eye, so you should just trust me.”


Is it? IIRC one of the “heros” of that story heard what he thought was a child being raped, and though that slamming a locker and murmuring a bit to JoePa about “horseplay” constituted whistleblowing.

Yea, but I think it worked out very badly for him, although it took a decade or two.

That’s what gets me about this case. I can hypothetically understand a church protecting an abuser in order to protect its image. It’s gross and vile, but it makes an ugly kind of sense that people might protect the reputation of an institution like a church over victims. But to do that to protect a fucking sport? That’s well and truly outside my theory of mind.


And not even prptecting the sport, but a doctor. Not a star coach, not some decorated athlete at the heart of an organization. Not that that would make it any better, but yeah, the bar for people to turn a blind eye seems particularly heiniously low here.


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