CNN exclusive: In depositions, Karolyis say they knew nothing of Nassar’s abuse at their ranch


March 29, 2018

By Jean Casarez and Laura Dolan

Bela Karolyi helped build Karolyi Ranch with his own hands. It’s where he and his wife Martha helped train more than a dozen elite gymnasts to Olympic glory.

But the most powerful couple in US gymnastics history, who coached legends Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton and Kerri Strug, said they can’t recall numerous details about what happened at their ranch in Huntsville, Texas, such as whether former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was licensed to practice there or who was responsible for keeping the gymnasts secure.
In depositions obtained exclusively by CNN, the Karolyis said they had very little to do with the day-to-day operation of the ranch when it served as a training site for the women’s national gymnastics team.

Their depositions, given in May of 2017, are part of a civil lawsuit filed by former elite gymnast Mattie Larson, which claims that the Karolyis “turned a blind-eye to the perpetrator Nassar’s sexual abuse of children at the Ranch.”

Nassar has pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in two cases and to federal child pornography charges. He is serving prison sentences of up to 175 years.

Karolyi Ranch, a 2,000-acre compound about 70 miles north of Houston, wasn’t just a gymnastics mecca bearing the coaches’ names. It became the US Women’s National Team Training Center in 2001 and a US Olympic Training Site in 2011 — during many of the same years Nassar was the national team doctor.

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