A longtime former USA Gymnastics trainer, who worked with disgraced former team doctor Larry Nassar, has been arrested on a charge of sexually assaulting a child.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Debra Van Horn, 63, was apprehended at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday by Homeland Security upon returning to the U.S. on a flight from China, according to a release from Walker County District Attorney’s Office.
“Ms. Van Horn is returning to the United States to answer these false accusations and clear her impeccable name and reputation,” said Van Horn’s attorney Emily DeToto. “Ms. Van Horn is charged as a ‘party, under the law of parties.’ That’s just a fancy way of saying, ‘guilt by association.’”
DeToto added that “Ms. Van Horn is innocent of these charges.”
Van Horn’s bond is set at $20,000 and she is expected to appear in court on Sept. 24.
Van Horn and Nasser were indicted in June on second-degree sexual assault of a child charges from alleged incidents at the Karolyi gymnastics ranch in Texas, the Associated Press reported. Van Horn was indicted on one count, Nassar was indicted on six.
Van Horn, a 30-year veteran of USA Gymnastics, was involved in numerous gymnastics youth development programs and a medical supervisory task force, according to AP.
In January, one of Nassar’s victims said Van Horn was in the room “many of the times” while Nassar abused her, AP reports.
Van Horn was the first person other than Nassar to be charged in the abuse scandal. She is no longer a USA Gymnastics employee, according to the organization.
Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics doctor, was sentenced in January to a maximum of 175 years in prison for sexual abuse spanning a period of 20 years. In total, 156 women testified against him at emotional, week-long hearings. He was also sentenced to 60 years in prison on separate child pornography charges in December 2016.
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