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Unaware of Nassar's abuse at their ranch, claims Karolyis

News Agencies | Updated on: 29 March 2018, 12:22 IST

Romanian-American gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi and his wife Martha, who own the Karolyi Ranch, have claimed to be unaware of the abuses carried out by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar at their ranch.

The Karolyis have mentioned, in depositions obtained exclusively by CNN, that they had very little to do with the day-to-day operation of the ranch when it served as a training site for the women's national gymnastics team.

According to the report, former elite gymnast Mattie filed a civil lawsuit that claims, the Karolyis "turned a blind-eye to the perpetrator Nassar's sexual abuse of children at the Ranch."

These depositions are part of the civil lawsuit.

Karolyi Ranch became the US Women's National Team Training Center in 2001 and a US Olympic Training Site in 2011 -- during many of the same years Nassar was the national team doctor, the report said.

USA Gymnastics cut ties with the ranch earlier in January, a few days after Olympic champion Simone Biles said she dreaded the thought of having to return there to train. Other gymnasts have also said they were abused at the ranch.

Biles revealed in a tweet that she too suffered sexual abuse by Nassar, at the ranch, and pled in her post, "It breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused."

Martha Karolyi maintains that Nassar seldom came to the ranch.

She went on to say that she was not aware if Nassar had a license to practice medicine in Texas.

Martha Karolyi, the national team coordinator from 2001 to 2016, threw light on the fact that when Nassar paid a visit to the camp, he wasn't under her supervision -- rather, he reported to a USA Gymnastics official who was usually at the training camp.

Earlier in January, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered a criminal investigation into claims that Nassar abused some of his victims at a Texas ranch that was the training ground for U.S. women's gymnastics.

Several gymnasts have said that Nassar abused them at the ranch.

The disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor has been sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades.


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First published: 29 March 2018, 12:22 IST