Disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar stabbed by another inmate at federal prison

FILE - In this Nov. 22, 2017 file photo, Dr. Larry Nassar appears in court for a plea hearing in Lansing, Mich. Nassar, who was convicted of sexually abusing female gymnasts, was stabbed multiple times during an altercation with another incarcerated person at a federal prison in Florida. Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press the attack happened Sunday at United States Penitentiary Coleman in Florida. The people said he was in stable condition Monday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

WASHINGTON — Disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted of sexually abusing Olympic and college female gymnasts, was stabbed multiple times by another inmate at a federal prison in Florida that is experiencing staffing shortages.

The attack happened Sunday at United States Penitentiary Coleman, and Nassar was in stable condition on Monday, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.


One of the people said Nassar had been stabbed in the back and in the chest. The two officers guarding the unit where Nassar was held were working mandated overtime shifts because of staffing shortages, one of the people said.

The people were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the attack or the ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

Nassar is serving decades in prison for convictions in state and federal courts. He admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he worked at Michigan State University and at Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Nassar also pleaded guilty in a separate case to possessing images of child sexual abuse.

The federal Bureau of Prisons has experienced significant staffing shortages in the last few years, an issue thrust into the spotlight in 2019 when the convicted financier Jeffrey Epstein took his own life at a federal jail in New York.

An Associated Press investigation in 2021 revealed nearly one third of federal correctional officer positions were vacant nationwide, forcing prisons to use cooks, teachers, nurses and other workers to guard inmates. The staffing shortages have hampered the response to emergencies at other prisons, including suicides.

Other AP investigations have revealed sexual abuse and criminal conduct, among other problems, at the Bureau of Prisons — the Justice Department’s largest agency, with more than 30,000 employees, 158,000 inmates and an annual budget of about $8 billion.

The bureau’s new leader, Colette Peters, was brought in last year to reform the crisis-plagued agency.

She has vowed to reform archaic hiring practices and bring new transparency. But problems have persisted, as shown by the recent suicide of Ted Kaczynski, known as the “Unabomber,” at a federal lockup in North Carolina.

On Sunday, one of the officers in Nassar’s unit was working a third straight day of overtime, each of them a 16-hour shift, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

The other officer was on a second straight day of mandated overtime, the person said.

Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar, tweeted Monday that none of the women she spoke with are rejoicing that Nassar was attacked. “We’re grieving the reality that protecting others from him came with the near-certainty we would wake up to this someday.”

Another victim, Sarah Klein, said the stabbing forces her and others to relive their abuse and trauma “at the hands of Nassar and the institutions, including law enforcement, that protected him and allowed him to prey on children.”

“I want him to face the severe prison sentence he received because of the voices of survivors. I absolutely do not support violence because it’s morally wrong and death would be an easy out for Nassar,” Klein said an emailed statement.

More than 150 women and girls testified during the 2018 sentencing of Nassar, who molested athletes under the guise of medical treatment. Some of them testified that — over the course of more than two decades of sexual abuse — they had told adults, including coaches and athletic trainers, what was happening but that it went unreported.

More than 100 women, including Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, collectively are seeking more than $1 billion from the federal government for the FBI’s failure to stop Nassar after agents became aware of allegations against him in 2015. He was arrested by Michigan State University police in 2016, more than a year later.

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