Texas governor Greg Abbott has ordered a state criminal probe into whether some of former US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar victims were abused at the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, TX, as first reported by the Associated Press.
"The public statements made by athletes who previously trained at the Karolyi Ranch are gut-wrenching," Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. "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. The people of Texas demand and the victims deserve, nothing less."
The Karolyi Ranch, owned by famed gymnastics coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi, was once the training center for the United States national team from 2001-2018 and considered an elite place for aspiring gymnasts to train. It was permanently closed a day after Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison for criminal sexual conduct that saw him abuse over 150 women and girls.
During the week-long sentencing hearing that saw many of Nassar's victims step forward and provide impact statements, the Karolyi Ranch came up in multiple testimonies, most notably from Mattie Larson as she described the culture inside the facility as one that saw these young athletes as almost sub-human.
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"The closest civilization is a high-security prison 30 miles away," Larson said. "On top of that, there is no cell service. It's completely isolated...that is no mistake... The complete detachment from the outside world and careless and neglectful adults made it the perfect environment for abusers and neglecters to thrive."
Before the ranch announced its closing, US Gymnastics cut ties with the facility during the sentencing hearing.
Nassar worked as the national team's medical coordinator for more than two decades, assuming the role in 1996. He joined US Gymnastics 10 years prior while still at Michigan State University, which is also under heavy scrutiny after Nassar's crimes came to light.