Texas Rangers to Investigate Sexual Abuse at East Texas Gymnastics Training Center

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TWITTER VIA @USAREHABS
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Last Wednesday, former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was convicted in a Michigan court of sexually assaulting at least 150 girls and women who were under his care. During the trial, multiple women (including Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles) said Nassar had assaulted them at Karolyi Ranch, the main training camp for the U.S. women's gymnastics team located in Huntsville, Texas.

The Walker County Sheriff's Department kicked off an investigation into the training facility a few days before Nassar received his sentence (40 to 175 years for sexual assault paired with an unrelated 60-year child pornography charge). But that wasn't enough of a response for Governor Greg Abbott. On Tuesday, Abbott instructed the Texas Rangers to join local law enforcement in investigating the landslide of assault allegations stemming from the remote camp.

"Considering that criminal action has been implicated across multiple jurisdictions and states, it is essential that the Texas Rangers work with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office to comprehensively investigate all potential criminal conduct," wrote Abbott in a letter penned to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven C. McCraw.

"The public statements made by athletes who previously trained at the Karolyi Ranch are gutwrenching," he continued. "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."



This announcement comes just a year after the Texas Rangers began their initial investigation into the Karolyi Ranch, sparked by Nassar's 2017 arrests for criminal sexual conduct and possession of child pornography. A January 2017 lawsuit out of California, one of many against Nassar, alleged that Nassar wasn't the only one guilty of harrassment and abuse at the camp. According to the lawsuit, the owners of the ranch, Bela and Martha Karolyi, had physically and verbally abused child gymnasts — and deprived them of food, water and communication with their parents.

The ranch officially closed its doors on Jan. 25 — a day after Nassar's sentence.

It's unclear when the original Texas Rangers investigation concluded, or if Abbott's command is just a continuation of the early 2017 assignment.