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The mysterious connection between Larry Nassar and Jeffrey Epstein

Larry Nassar has been stabbed multiple times in prison months after new details emerged about a surprise connection between him and late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Will the details ever be made public? Rachel Sharp reports

Tuesday 11 July 2023 13:11 BST
Jeffrey Epstein (inset) sent Larry Nassar (right) a letter before he killed himself in jail
Jeffrey Epstein (inset) sent Larry Nassar (right) a letter before he killed himself in jail (Getty)

For decades, they both sexually assaulted dozens of underage girls and young women.

They preyed on their victims by first earning their trust – one as a top doctor for athletes and the other as a generous billionaire mentor offering to help pursue their dreams.

They then abused this position of trust and power by subjecting victims to a campaign of sexual abuse over several years.

And, for a long time, they got away with it as – despite the glaring warning signs – these two powerful men went unchecked by authorities, public figures and other people in power.

Larry Nassar and Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes and patterns of abuse are no doubt chillingly similar.

But, besides the suffering they caused to others, no connection was ever made between the two offenders.

That is, until last month, when a trove of 4,000 pages of documents related to Epstein’s jailhouse death were released by the federal Bureau of Prisons under the Freedom of Information Act.

Now, in another bizarre twist it has emerged that, just weeks after this shocking link came to light, Nassar was violently attacked inside the high-security federal prison in Florida where he has been held since 2018.

Sources told The Associated Press that the convicted sex abuser, 59, had been stabbed multiple times – including in the chest and back – by another inmate at United States Penitentiary Coleman in Florida over the weekend.

A Bureau of Prisons spokesperson confirmed to The Independent that “life-saving efforts” were carried out on the inmate – who they refused to confirm as Nassar – before he was rushed to hospital.

The extent of his injuries is currently unclear but sources said he is now in stable condition.

Larry Nassar during his sentencing hearing in Michigan in 2018 (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The incident is now the subject of an internal investigation and the FBI has also been notified.

For now, what led up to the attack is currently unclear.

The identity of the attacker remains unknown.

And no motive has been given.

But the timing of his near-death experience behind bars may well raise some eyebrows coming just one month after new details emerged about a surprise connection between Nassar and fellow paedophile Epstein, who died inside his own jail cell back in 2019.

In early June, thousands of pages of BOP records related to Epstein’s death were obtained by The Associated Press, including details of his health history, emails and internal agency reports.

Hidden among the 4,000 pages was one especially curious email dated September 2019.

It was an email between staff at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, New York, which contained some surprising information.

In the 34 days that Epstein was behind bars at the Manhattan jail he had sent a letter to a fellow convicted sex offender 1,100 miles away at a prison in Florida.

That recipient was Nassar.

At the time, Nassar was already convicted and serving hundreds of years behind bars in Coleman.

Epstein, meanwhile, was awaiting trial on a slew of sex trafficking charges in New York.

The letter never reached Nassar.

For some unknown reason, it was returned to sender and was discovered in the Manhattan jail’s mail room weeks later in September 2019.

By this point, Epstein was already dead.

“It appeared he mailed it out and it was returned back to him,” the investigator who found the letter wrote in an email to a prison official.

Jeffrey Epstein letter Nassar a letter before his death (New York State Sex Offender Registry)

“I am not sure if I should open it or should we hand it over to anyone?”

What the officials decided to do with the letter remains a mystery with the letter itself not included within the 4,000 pages of records released under the FOIA request.

Was it mailed again to Nassar? Was it destroyed? Was it kept on record by prison officials?

And, more importantly, what did it say? And why was Epstein writing to a fellow paedophile?

But the biggest question is: Did the two convicted, high-profile sex offenders know each other or have connections to each other prior to their respective arrests and incarcerations?

Nassar has been held at Coleman since his conviction in 2018 for sexually assaulting girls and young women at USA gymnastics and Michigan State University.

As the team doctor, the sexual predator preyed on hundreds of young gymnasts including Simone Biles and Aly Raisman for several decades.

He was finally arrested in December 2016 on child sex abuse image charges – more than a year after his first victim came forward with the allegations.

In 2018, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for criminal sexual conduct. He is also serving a 60-year federal prison sentence on child sex abuse image charges and a separate 40 to 125 years for sexual abuse in Michigan.

Epstein, meanwhile, was initially convicted in 2008 of procuring an underage girl for prostitution in Florida.

In a now widely condemned sweetheart plea deal, Epstein pleaded guilty to one charge and was sentenced to just 18 months in prison – most of which he served out of prison in a work-release program.

On his release, he was ordered to register as a sex offender.

Then, in July 2019, he was arrested on a slew of sex trafficking charges in New York.

On 10 August 2019 – just one month after his arrest on 7 July and not long after he sent the letter to Nassar – he was found dead in his cell.

The medical examiner ruled his death suicide but there have long been questions and conspiracies surrounding his final hours. Last month, the Justice Department watchdog released a scathing report blaming Epstein’s suicide on “numerous and serious failures” by Bureau of Prisons staff.

US gymnasts from left, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols, arrive to testify about abuse they suffered at hands of Nassar (AP)

While he died one month later before he could face trial, his accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of sex trafficking in New York in December 2021 and is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence.

It remains unclear if Nassar and Epstein’s paths ever crossed during their years of abusing girls and young women.

It’s a question that only Epstein and Nassar could truly answer.

Epstein has taken his account – and his reasons for contacting Nassar – to the grave.

An attorney for Nassar, meanwhile, said that they were “not aware of any relationship between Mr Nassar and Jeffrey Epstein”.

Jonathan Sacks, director of the State Appellate Defender Office where Nassar’s court-appointed attorney Jacqueline McCann works, told CNN that the office had no knowledge of the letter or Epstein’s attempt to contact Nassar prior to the documents’ release.

Now that Nassar is in hospital recovering from multiple stab wounds, it remains to be seen whether he can and will shed light on the bizarre connection to Epstein – and the contents of that letter.

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