A former USA Gymnastics athletic trainer who worked alongside Larry Nassar was arrested this week on one charge of second-degree sexual assault of a child.
Police met Debra Van Horn at the Houston airport Thursday morning where she was arriving from China to respond to the charges that were first filed in late June by a grand jury in Walker County, Texas, where the Karolyi Ranch is located.
Van Horn worked with Nassar at the ranch, the former training site for USA's Olympic gymnasts. USA Gymnastics ended its connection with the Karolyi Ranch this January during the sentencing hearings that shined a light on abuse that occurred at those training camps and landed Nassar in state prison for up to 175 years for sexually abusing his patients.
Nassar, 55, is serving a 60-year federal prison sentence on child pornography charges before his time in state prison would begin. Nassar was also charged this June in Texas with six counts of sexually assaulting a child.
Van Horn is the first Nassar colleague charged with an assault crime in relation to his sexual abuse case. Former Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages and medical school dean William Strampel were both charged with crimes in Michigan stemming from a Nassar-related investigation in that state.
During Nassar's sentencing hearing in January, former national team gymnast Mattie Larson said Van Horn was in the room while Nassar assaulted her on many occasions. She and another gymnast said Van Horn did nothing, and her presence led them to believe that what Nassar was doing was an acceptable form of medical treatment. Van Horn is accused of "acting as a party with one or more individuals," according to the indictment issued in June.
Emily DeToto, an attorney representing Van Horn, told the Houston Chronicle that her client is innocent.
"Ms. Van Horn is returning to the United States to answer these false accusations and clear her impeccable name and reputation," DeToto said, according to the newspaper. "Ms. Van Horn is charged as a 'party, under the law of parties.' That's just a fancy way of saying, 'guilt by association.'"
Van Horn's first court date is schedule for Sept. 24.