Texas Gov. orders state criminal probe into Karoli Ranch

Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas Rangers to launch an investigation into allegations of sexual assault of athletes at Karolyi Ranch in Walker County, north of Houston, where Larry Nassar treated athletes.

"Considering that criminal action has been implicated across multiple jurisdictions and states, it is essential that the Texas Rangers work with the Walker County Sheriff's Office to comprehensively investigate all potential criminal conduct", wrote Abbott in a letter to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Kerry Perry, USA Gymnastics president and CEO, said it was her intent to have the women's program leave the ranch when she began her tenure in December. He had already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.

Abbott called the allegations "gut-wrenching".

Karolyi Ranch previously served as the National Training Center for USA Gymnastics. The decision came three days after Olympic champion Simone Biles expressed dismay at having to attend camps there, where Biles says she was sexually abused by a former national team doctor. "The people of Texas demand, and the victims deserve, nothing less".

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The ranch is owned by former national team coordinators Bela and Martha Karolyi.

Biles, who has returned to training after winning five medals at the 2016 Olympics, said in a statement released Monday that "it is impossibly difficult" to attend team camps at the ranch.

Nassar's accusers have said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them and other inappropriate touching when they were seeking treatment for back, hip, leg, foot and other injuries. The entire board of U.S.A. Gymnastics resigned in the wake of the scandal.

The facility has been used for regular training camps but USA Gymnastics said earlier this month it had canceled training sessions and was exploring alternative sites until a permanent location is found.

McKayla Maroney, who won gold in 2012, has said she was molested at the ranch by Nassar, starting when she was 13 years old. She said he would give her desserts as treats, which were forbidden at the ranch, where the Karolyis closely monitored what the gymnasts ate. The couple was accused of turning a blind eye to Nassar's abuse in a 2016 California lawsuit.

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