Former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing women and girls for years.
After days of hearing moving impact statements from dozens of victims, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina of Michigan’s Ingham County Circuit Court sentenced the 54-year-old predator to the lengthy sentence — the culmination of a long-term effort to take down the abuser.
“Your crimes have cut into the core of this community and families and many we don’t know,” Aquilina said before handing down the sentence. “There was no medical treatment. You did this for your pleasure and your control. You still think that somehow you are right … I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir.”
“It was my honor and privilege to sentence you,” Aquilina added later, stating that she wants him to remain in prison for the rest of his life. “I just signed your death warrant.”
The judge also read part of a letter Nassar submitted to her, and the people in the courtroom gasped when she recited this line out loud: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned … the stories that are being fabricated to sensationalize this …”
More than 150 women and girls have accused Nassar of assault, including gymnasts Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas. Nassar pleaded guilty in November to several counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
“We know without a doubt after these seven days — what we and this team have known for 16 months — [Nassar] is perhaps the most prolific child molester in history … who spared no one,” Assistant District Attorney Angela Povilaitis said in court on Wednesday.
“The defendant hid behind Olympic rings. Every previous time there had been an allegation, nothing happened. His lies worked. This court from several women some decades later who were initially determined to be confused or to be liars. He was believed over these children.”
Dozens of victims have appeared, or had representation appear, at Michigan’s Ingham County Circuit Courtroom to read impact statements during Nassar’s sentencing hearing.
During the trial, Raisman addressed Nassar directly, saying: “You never healed me. You took advantage of our passions and our dreams. Imagine feeling like you have no power, and no voice. Well you know what Larry, I have my power and my voice, and I will use them.”
Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander, one of the first women to come forward about Nassar’s abuse, spoke boldly during the days-long hearing. She asked that Nassar be given the maximum sentence, and criticized officials for allegedly turning a blind eye.
Just before being sentenced, Nassar addressed his victims, often turning to look at many of them in the room.
“There are no words to describe … how sorry I am for what has occurred,” he said. “I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
In the wake of the scandal, USA Gymnastics Board of Directors’ Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley all tendered their resignations, effective Sunday, according to Kerry Perry, the organization’s president and CEO. USA Gymnastics suspended former U.S. women’s national team coach John Geddert, the owner of the Twistars gymnastics club near Lansing, multiple outlets reported.
Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting at least two teenagers at Twistars, according to The Detroit News.
Nassar was fired by USA Gymnastics in 2015 after working with the organization since 1986 — he had been its national medical coordinator since 1996, the New York Times reported. He was fired from Michigan State in 2016.
Mind & Body – Health.com