The webpage for the legendary Karolyi Ranch announces the training facility known around the world for producing female Olympic gymnasts has permanently closed.
The message reads:
"After nearly four decades of spiriting young gymnasts towards greatness in sport, our yearly tradition of the Karolyi's Gymnastics Camp has come to an end. Bela, Martha, and the rest of the camp staff wish to sincerely thank all participants, USA Gymnastics, and everyone who has been a part of our extended family for 35 years of unforgettable memories."
The announcement comes one day after the sentencing of former U.S. Olympic Gymnastics' Dr. Larry Nassar for multiple sexual abuse charges and within a week of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office announcement that the ranch is currently under investigation.
A spokesperson with the sheriff’s office would not tell KHOU 11 News anything further on Thursday and would not comment on the possibility the Texas Rangers are now involved in the investigation of the 2,000-acre ranch in the Sam Houston National Forest.
Victims of Dr. Nassar’s sexual abuse shared the trauma they experienced while they were students of the gymnastics camp.
“There is an eerie feeling as soon as you step foot onto the Karolyi Ranch,” said gymnast Mattie Larson during Nassar's sentencing hearing. “It is completely removed from all civilization. In the case of an emergency, the closest hospital is so far away you need to be helicoptered there. To get to the ranch, you must drive up a dirt road and the closest sign of civilization is a high-security prison 30 miles away.”
Larson said she and other girls were molested by Nassar at the camp even while they were among other adults and gymnasts.
“I figured if he is doing this in front of my friends, it can’t be that bad, right?” Larson said.
KHOU 11 legal analyst Gerald Treece says he does not believe the litigation or criminal charges will end with Nasser’s conviction.
“i have a feeling it’s not going to be just that doctor,” Treece said. “It’s going to be a lot of other people who have a lot of answering to do.”
Treece says if it can be shown that adults knew the abuse was happening at the ranch and they did not do anything to stop it or remained silent, they could face criminal charges.
However, Treece says the threshold for civil cases is lower. An injured party would only need to prove negligence -- that an adult knew, or should have known, the abuse was occurring.
“For whatever reason I believed every word they said,” Treece said. “Mainly because a little girl is going to be so embarrassed talking about this stuff, there’s probably two or three times more girls that could’ve come forward.”