District attorney: Karolyi Ranch investigation will go to grand jury

Pictured is the main entrance to the Karolyi Ranch, where the U.S. gymnastics team once trained in Walker County. Walker County District Attorney David Weeks announced Thursday any evidence collected during an ongoing investigation by the Walker County Sheriff's Office and Texas Rangers into alleged abuse of female gymnasts by a former doctor at the site of the former National Training Center will be turned over to a grand jury to decide if criminal charges should be pursued. 

A state prosecutor announced Thursday any evidence collected by authorities regarding allegations of female gymnasts being subjected to abuse at the former site of the national training facility in Texas will be turned over to a grand jury to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

Walker County District Attorney David Weeks said in a statement Thursday his office will not be seeking assistance from the Texas attorney general at this time in the ongoing investigation into alleged criminal activity by Larry Nassar at the Karolyi Ranch, located southeast of Huntsville.

The announcement comes after former gymnasts addressed reporters outside of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office in Austin Thursday, urging law enforcement agencies to investigate if former U.S. women’s national team coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi could have done more to protect them from the former sports medicine doctor at the couple’s ranch, which also served as the USA Gymnastics National Training Center.

The investigation is currently being handled by the Texas Rangers and the Walker County Sheriff’s Office.

“My office is currently working closely with the Texas Rangers and the Walker County Sheriff’s Department to thoroughly and completely investigate any and all allegations of misconduct that may have occurred at the Karolyi Ranch here in Walker County, Texas,” Weeks said in a statement. “Because the investigation is active and ongoing, I cannot and will not comment on the day-to-day activities of the investigators except to say that all of the agencies involved are working diligently to ensure that the investigation is complete and that each allegation or complaint is addressed.

“I have the utmost confidence in the Texas Rangers and the Walker County Sheriff’s Department.”

In January, Nassar, who worked for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting young female athletes under the impression that he was performing medical treatment.

Some of the victims, including Olympic champions Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, say they were abused by Nassar at the Karolyi Ranch. USA Gymnastics cut ties with the ranch and moved the National Training Center after Nassar was sentenced in January.

The Walker County Sheriff’s Office has had an open investigation into the Karolyi Ranch since allegations of criminal conduct at the Texas training facility surfaced during Nassar’s trial. Gov. Greg Abbott requested the Texas Rangers assist with the case in January.

Martha Karolyi denied in an interview with “Dateline NBC” last month that she and her husband knew what Nassar was doing to his victims.

“... I heard during the testimony that some of the parents were in the therapy room with their own child and Larry Nassar was performing this and parents couldn’t see. How I could see?” Karolyi told “Dateline.”

A former member of the U.S. national team filed a lawsuit in state district court in Walker County earlier this month over possible sexual abuse at the National Training Center.

Sabrina Vega, who was on the national team that won gold at the 2011 World Championships, is seeking monetary damages from USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Karolyis for failing to protect her and other athletes from Nassar, according to court documents.

“We have been working closely with the Texas Rangers in this investigation and we are trying to wrap things up,” Walker County Sheriff Clint McRae said. “Once the investigation is complete, we will turn over our findings to the district attorney’s office and they will determined what to do from there.”

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