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'We were wrong': Police apologize for doubting 2004 Larry Nassar accuser

Image: Victim Brianne Randall speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Na
Brianne Randall-Gay speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar. Copyright Brendan McDermid
Copyright Brendan McDermid
By Tracy Connor and Rehema Ellis with NBC News
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Brianne Randall-Gay told police in 2004 that Larry Nassar molested her. Fourteen years later, police apologize for believing him over her.

Brianne Randall-Gay was 17 years old when she went to see Michigan State University sports medicine doctor Larry Nassar for back pain over a decade ago.

Her next stop was the Meridian Township Police Department, to report that Nassar, who was also the team physician for USA Gymnastics, sexually abused her during the appointment.

"You had audacity to tell (police) I misunderstood the treatment because I was not comfortable with my body," Randall-Gay told Nassar last week during his sentencing hearing in Ingham County Court.

"Sadly, they took your word instead of mine."

Meridian police have confirmed they did not refer Randall-Gay's complaint to prosecutors. She got no justice — but 13 years later, she's getting an apology at a press conference on Thursday.

"We need do something public," Meridian Township Manager Frank Walsh said in an interview with NBC News.

Related: Nassar accuser count climbs to 265, judge says

"We were wrong in 2004. We were deceived by Nassar... and when you do something wrong you admit it and you make it better."

Walsh, who was not the township manager in 2004, said he will be unveiling new initiatives for sex-crimes investigations.

Image: Victim Brianne Randall speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing
Brianne Randall-Gay speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar. Brendan McDermid

"We let her down and we won't do it again," Walsh said, starting to choke up.

Related: Eight times Larry Nassar could have been stopped

He said the officer who took the report has made a private apology to Randall-Gay. He has not been disciplined for dismissing Randall-Gay's concerns.

"I'm not about to make a punitive decision for something that happened 14 years ago," Walsh said.

"We let her down and we won't do it again."

Police Chief David Hall, who was the interim chief in 2004, said Nassar's standing as a respected doctor helped blind the investigator to the possibility he was lying.

"Our job is to take people off the street. He felt bad that he didn't catch that one. He's very apologetic," Hall said.

Randall-Gay said she appreciates the apology but it's "not enough," especially since the community paid a steep price for the police mishandling.

"I believe it's possible that his abuse could have been stopped 14 years ago. And that many young women and girls would not have been victimized by him," she told NBC News.

She said she broke down when police finally called her to say they had messed up.

"It felt good to hear from them and their kindness has been therapeutic for me," she said. "However, I still have a lot of anger towards the situation."

Randall-Gay's complaint is one of at least eight times that, according to his victims, Nassar could have been stopped.

A police report of the incident released Wednesday shows that she reported her encounter with Nassar the next day telling investigators she was "freaked out" that he tried to penetrate her with an ungloved hand, massaged her breasts and manipulated her genital area.

She even had a rape kit done, and police called in Nassar for an interview.

But the report shows that all Nassar did to get police to back off was tell them that he used a legitimate medical technique on Randall-Gay and give them him Power Point presentation on it.

Police then called Randall-Gay's mother to inform her "that we would be closing the case with no prosecution being sought, due to the facts presented to me by Dr. Nassar," the report says.

In the coming years, Nassar would repeat his claim that the physical contact was medical and not sexual. He even resurfaced it this month in a letter to the judge — after he pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct charges.

"Nobody was listening."

Randall-Gay said she has suffered from anxiety since the incident. She initially sent a written statement to be read aloud at the hearing, but after listening to some other victims speak, she decided she wanted to appear in person.

Meridian Township paid for her to fly to Michigan from Seattle, and she confronted Nassar in the courtroom before he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.

"I am here to tell you I wasn't afraid of you then, and I'm sure as hell not afraid of you now," Randall-Gay said.

She urged institutions and authority figures to pay attention to children reporting abuse, saying Nassar was allowed to keep molesting "because nobody was listening."

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