Former US Olympic team doctor and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in jail for sexual abuse of athletes by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.
The former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation’s top gymnasts for years was sentenced on Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison as the judge declared: “I just signed your death warrant.”
Nassar pled guilty to a total of 10 charges of criminal sexual conduct, seven of which he was sentenced for by Aquilina that occurred in Ingham County, where Michigan State University is located. This week, more than 150 women and parents gave statements at Nassar’s sentencing hearing, detailing horrific emotional and physical trauma.
The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing in which scores of Larry Nassar’s victims were able to confront him face to face in a Michigan courtroom.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said Nassar’s “decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, and despicable.”
“It is my honour and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again. You have done nothing to control those urges and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable,” Aquilina said.
Gymnasts and former gymnasts who spoke or shared their words in the courtroom included Olympians Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Gabby Douglas. Other young women who were treated by Nassar when he worked at Michigan State University, and one woman he abused was a family friend.
Nassar maintained his guilty plea but also submitted a letter reiterating his initial defence: that what he did was medical and not sexual in nature, and that the media had sensationalized the accounts of the women who came forward.
Many of the athletes, particularly Aly Raisman, also blamed USA Gymnastics for enabling Nassar’s abuse by creating an environment in which young gymnasts were treated like profit-making machines instead of vulnerable minors who needed the organization’s protection. “I have represented the USA in two Olympics and have done so successfully,”
Raisman said in her statement last week. “And both USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee have been very quick to capitalize and celebrate my success, but did they reach out when I came forward? No,” she said. “For this sport to go on, we need to demand real change, and we need to be willing to fight for it. It’s clear now that if we leave it up to these organizations, history is likely to repeat itself.”
When the hearing ended, the courtroom broke into applause.
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