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Survivor says Nassar is a “Manipulative Mastermind”

Story: Maggi Regan, Staff Writer

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Like over 250 other women, Katie Ebert, a sophomore at Michigan State University and 2016 Haslett graduate, sought treatment at the hands of former doctor Larry Nassar and walked out of his office split in two.

“My gut was telling me this is wrong,” Ebert said. “But my brain was saying this is fine… he’s a doctor.”

At age 15, Ebert injured her knee after a bar accident at gymnastics practice and was referred to Nassar for his respectable merit in sports medicine. During her first appointment, it wasn’t until she felt his hand move far up her thigh while applying ultrasound fluid to her knee that she began to second guess his methods.

Having her mother, as well as a resident nurse, in the room during the appointment kept her from voicing her confusion and discomfort.

Upon returning for her second consultation, Nassar violated the trust Ebert had by stretching her in a way that was unrelated to treatment for her injury.

“I felt his fingers slip beneath the fabric of my leotard,” Ebert said. “I stopped breathing. I thought, ‘Is this a mistake? Did his hand slip? Does he realize?’ I didn’t know what to think.”

The answers to her questions started to emerge along with the erection she noticed in Nassar’s pants.

Numb and disgusted, her brain immediately began to erase the memory of what happened in his office. “I could remember walking in. I could remember walking out feeling uncomfortable and not really knowing why,” Ebert said. “There are black holes in my memory.”

Shortly after her experience with Nassar, dominos began to fall for Ebert. Throughout her high school years, the repercussions of Nassar’s abuse stuck to her like a shadow, flooding into many areas of her daily life.

“I was depressed and I didn’t know why. I started seeing a therapist. It was almost immediate,” Ebert said. “I spent years going to counseling and eight days in a mental institution. This whole thing was an emotional, physical and financial burden to my family and me.”

On account of other survivors sharing their horror stories with the public, Ebert was finally able to connect the dots. The mental demons she fought for years began to make sense. “Until I started watching the statements, I didn’t think I was one of those girls, but they were word for word of my experience,” Ebert said.

Spartan pride oozed green and white in Ebert’s blood until she had to recently reopen the wound Nassar created. In the wake of emotion following the allegations, continuing with study and school work was difficult.

Too devastated to leave her bed, Ebert missed an exam and found no redress from the university. She was given only 50 percent of her final exam grade.

“I skipped class for a week. I lost my motivation to live while all of this was hitting me,” Ebert said.

Her frustration stems from the lack of action and accountability  by the university she adores. “Actions speak louder than words, and the fact that MSU administration is trying to move on from it, it is the worst possible thing they can do,” Ebert said.

Like many other survivors, Katie has turned to the university for atonement, making it clear that there are more important issues at hand than the stature of Michigan State athletics.

“I don’t care about the money, I don’t care about football or basketball. I care about the years of my life that were taken away from me because someone didn’t do their job and report sexual assault. Where is my mental health help? Where is MSU when I have been falling apart?” Ebert said.

Anger fueled Ebert to take part in EmpowHer, an outreach program influenced by Susie Merchant and Kristin St. Marie, aimed at young girls to inspire confidence and resilience through workshops at a retreat held in the Breslin Center. Her participation in this leadership retreat puts into action her belief that sexual assault needs to be recognized and taught to young people so it can be prevented.

Ebert plans to use her compensation money she expects MSU to provide her a 24/7 mental health clinic and assault trauma center on campus in the hopes it will give care and attention to those who need it.

Ebert is looking ahead at the future of not only her own life, but also that of Michigan State and her sister survivors.

“It is very important that we touch on this subject,” Ebert said. “We can’t just wait for this to resolve itself, because it never will.”

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Survivor says Nassar is a “Manipulative Mastermind”