Larry Nassar, the sports doctor convicted of sexually abusing female gymnasts, was stabbed multiple times inside a federal lockup in Florida on Sunday, a prison union leader told The Daily Beast.
“He has a collapsed lung,” said Joe Rojas, the president of the union that represents staffers at U.S. Penitentiary Coleman. “He is lucky to be alive and the only reason he is alive, in my opinion, is because of the staff members who were there.”
Rojas added that Nassar, 59, was “stabbed twice in the neck, six times in the chest, and twice in the back,” and was in stable condition on Monday morning. The attack was first reported by the Associated Press. Sources told the AP that a fellow inmate attacked Nassar.
The incident was surprising, Rojas said, as Nassar mostly “kept to himself” at the prison and never had an issue with inmates during his four years there. Rojas said he confirmed his information with on-duty staffers and that officials still don’t have a motive for the attack.
A Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast that a Coleman inmate “was assaulted” at about 2:35 p.m. Sunday, and “responding staff immediately initiated life-saving measures.”
“Staff requested Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and life-saving efforts continued,” the spokesperson said. “The inmate was transported by EMS to a local hospital for further treatment and evaluation.”
The spokesperson added that no other staff or inmates were injured at the high-security facility, which houses 1,214 male inmates. The FBI was notified, and an internal investigation is underway.
Nassar’s first known victim, Sarah Klein, told The Daily Beast that the attack brought “no peace” for her and her fellow survivors because it forced them to “vividly review our abuse and trauma.”
“I want him to face the severe prison sentence he received because of the voices of survivors,” Klein said. “I absolutely do not support violence because it’s morally wrong and death would be an easy out for Nassar. I urge the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Prisons to see that Nassar is not allowed to escape his sentence and the consequences of his horrible crimes.”
Klein said she never really thought about “whether or not prison would be a safe place for Nassar or not.” But, she said, she had heard others say “that it was only a matter of time” because “sex offenders often don’t fare well in prison.”
“The justice system worked beautifully in this case and Nassar was serving out the punishment he deserved—life in prison,” she said.
Nassar is serving decades in prison after sexually assaulting dozens of gymnasts, including Olympic medal winners. He admitted to abusing the athletes during his time working at USA Gymnastics and at Michigan State University. He separately pleaded guilty to possessing child sexual abuse material in 2017.
Questions about how Nassar was able to get away with his serial offending for over 20 years overshadowed the case. Victims testified that they had informed adults, including coaches, about the abuse, but the complaints were not reported.
The FBI knew of allegations against Nassar in 2015 but he was not arrested until the following year, and he continued abusing gymnasts in the meantime. More than 100 women, including seven-time Olympic medal winner Simone Biles, later filed a lawsuit seeking more than $1 billion from the government for the FBI’s failure to detain him sooner. A 2021 report from the DOJ’s independent inspector general said the delay gave Nassar the opportunity to abuse dozens more athletes.
Michigan State, which was also accused of ignoring allegations against Nassar as far back as the 1990s, agreed to pay $500 million to settle claims from more than 300 victims. USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee separately agreed to pay a $380 million settlement to more than 300 of Nassar’s victims.
Antoinette Frazho, an attorney who represents several of Nassar’s victims, told The Daily Beast that her clients were aware of Sunday’s incident and aware that Nassar “will be fine.”
“My clients do not wish harm on anyone, but Nassar placed himself in that position by abusing and assaulting young girls for over 30 years,” Frazho said.