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Ex-USA Gymnastics Trainer Arrested In Texas On Sex Assault Charge

Debbie Van Horn was arrested Thursday at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and booked into the Walker County Jail on Thursday.
Walker County Jail via Reuters
Debbie Van Horn was arrested Thursday at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and booked into the Walker County Jail on Thursday.

Debbie Van Horn, a former trainer with USA Gymnastics who worked with disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar, has been arrested in Texas and charged with one count of sexual assault of a child.

Van Horn and Nassar worked together at Karolyi Ranch, the former USA Gymnastics training facility outside of Huntsville, Texas.

Van Horn, who was indicted in June, was arrested Thursday at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to a statement from the Walker County District Attorney's office. Van Horn was arriving on a flight from China, the statement says.

A lawyer for Van Horn told multiple media outlets that Van Horn returned willingly to clear her name. The lawyer described Van Horn's reputation as "impeccable."

According to county records, Van Horn was booked into the Walker County Jail on Thursday and held on $20,000 bail.

She's due to appear in court on Sept. 24, according to prosecutors.

The Associated Press reports that Van Horn worked with USA Gymnastics for 30 years. She was involved with caring for 8- to 10-year-old athletes, worked with a youth development camp, and was a member of the USA Gymnastics Medical Task Force. That group was founded in 2013 "to provide leadership and oversight of USA Gymnastics' practices, procedures and protocols regarding athlete care," the news service reports.

Nassar also faces charges in Texas for alleged assaults at Karolyi Ranch; he was indicted in June, at the same time as Van Horn, on six counts of assault.

Nassar is currently in federal prison in Florida, serving a 60-year sentence for possession of child pornography. He has also been ordered to serve two sentences in state prison in Michigan, each of which is at least 40 years long.

Walker County prosecutors interviewed Bela and Martha Karolyi, the owners of the training facility where Nassar and Van Horn allegedly assaulted gymnasts, and opted not to file any charges against them, as CNN reported earlier this summer.

Meanwhile, the leadership of USA Gymnastics continues to be in a state of chaos.

The entire board resignedin January. Late last month, a coach who had defended Nassar was promoted to elite development coordinator and then promptly asked to resign.

And just days ago, USA Gymnastics' president and CEO, Kerry Perry, stepped down after just 10 months on the job.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.