Former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor Larry Nassar on Monday was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison for sexually abusing young athletes under the guise of medical treatment.
Nassar, 54, was sentenced in a Charlotte, Michigan, courtroom on three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, adding to long prison terms he already faces for additional sex crimes.
“I am not convinced that you truly understand that what you did was wrong and the devastating impact that you have had on the victims, their families and friends,” Judge Janice Cunningham told Nassar in court before handing down the punishment. “Clearly you are in denial. You don’t get it. And I do not believe that there is a likelihood that you could be reformed.”
Nassar read a statement in court before he was sentenced.
“The words expressed by everyone that has spoken, including the parents, have impacted me to my inner-most core,” he said. “With that being said, I understand and acknowledge that it pales in comparison to the pain and trauma and emotions that you all feel. It’s impossible to convey the depth and breadth of how sorry I am to each and everyone involved.”
Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis, in her closing argument, reminded the judge how far-reaching Nassar’s abuse was.
“The breadth of the defendant’s abuse and destruction is nearly infinite,” the prosecutor said. ”… Few sports were saved from his predatory behavior, over a dozen different sports brought athletes to him who he abused.”
Povilaitis also applauded the bravery of survivors who spoke against Nassar.
“We are taught to trust. We have to trust … We are, above all, taught to trust doctors, especially those who appear to be world-class doctors,” she said. “I truly believe we’ve seen the worst humanity in the last few weeks and we’ve also seen the best.”
The disgraced former physician, who is accused of sexual abuse by more than 265 young women, pleaded guilty to the charges on Nov. 22. He is already serving 40 to 175 years in prison on seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, and an additional 60 years on child pornography charges.
The sentencing comes after more than 60 survivors delivered powerful victim impact statements in court to Nassar.
Former gymnast Tiffany Dutton said during the sentence hearing that she came forward with her story because of the “courage and bravery” of the other women who have already accused Nassar.
“It takes a monster to sexually assault a child,” she said. “But it takes a monster backed by ego, experience and power ― fueled by multiple institutions ― to sexually assault a child in front of their own mother.”
Among Nassar’s victims are Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles. According to court documents, Nassar served as team doctor for USA Gymnastics, various MSU sports teams and at a local Michigan gym called Twistars. As such, he gained the trust of girls and their families, which gave him cover for exams during which he fondled and digitally penetrated the girls.
Larissa Boyce, the first woman to report Nassar’s abuse back in 1997, ended her impact statement on a powerful note.
“My sisters, they have risen up and they have spoken their truths,” Boyce said, referring to the hundreds of survivors. “Don’t forget. Don’t forget these truths. Don’t forget me. Don’t forget my story. Don’t forget the 265 ‘me toos.’ Don’t forget us.”
The hearing became violent on Friday morning when Randall Margraves, a father of three girls who were abused by Nassar, attacked the disgraced doctor in court.
“I would ask you to, as part of the sentencing, to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon. Would you do that? Would you give me one minute?” Margraves asked Cunningham before he lunged at Nassar.
Several officers escorted Margraves out of the courtroom in handcuffs, but Cunningham did not hold Margrave in contempt of court. The father later apologized, telling the judge: “I lost control and I apologize a hundred times… I’m not here to upstage my daughters, I’m here to help them heal.”
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