Dr. Larry Nassar Sentenced to 40 to 175 Years for Sexual Abuse

The case and its ramifications are far from over. It has ignited outrage in the sports world and beyond, leading to the resignation this week of the chairman and several board members of the governing body for gymnastics in the United States, U.S.A. Gymnastics. Last week, the organization cut ties with the Karolyi Ranch, the training center at a remote Texas ranch where some of the abuse occurred.

There have also been calls for the resignation of the president of Michigan State University, where Dr. Nassar spent decades on the faculty and treated its athletes. He also treated some members of the United States national gymnastics team there. The N.C.A.A. on Tuesday formally opened an investigation into the university’s conduct.

A number of civil lawsuits have also been filed.

The sentencing hearing itself, streamed live on the internet, garnered much attention for extending several days to allow for victim impact statements from girls and women who said they were molested by Dr. Nassar over the years. Many of the victims had not previously identified themselves. Initial plans to conclude after four days were altered as more women came forward.

Judge Aquilina was a fierce advocate for the victims, often praising or consoling them after their statements. The hours and hours of victims speaking candidly about their abuse unexpectedly turned the hearing into a cathartic forum. Dozens of women who had remained silent came forward with accounts of abuse.


Gymnasts Confront Larry Nassar Over Sexual Abuse

Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber were among several gymnasts who spoke during the sentencing hearing for Lawrence G. Nassar, the former team doctor, who pleaded guilty to molestation charges in November.

By NEETI UPADHYE on Publish Date January 19, 2018.

Photo by Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal, via Associated Press.

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Among those who have accused him are the Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Simone Biles.

The final three victims spoke on Wednesday. Rachael Denhollander, who was one of the first women to come forward with public accusations against Dr. Nassar, was the last to speak at his sentencing hearing. “Larry is the most dangerous type of abuser,” she said. “One who is capable of manipulating his victims through coldly calculated grooming methodologies, presenting the most wholesome and caring external persona as a deliberate means to ensure a steady stream of young children to assault.”


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Judge Aquilina praised Ms. Denhollander for opening the floodgates. “You are the bravest person I have ever had in my courtroom,” she said.

The sentence carries a minimum 40 years imprisonment, adhering to the terms of the plea agreement, but the judge advised that should Dr. Nassar improbably live longer than any human has, and come up for parole after serving the federal and state sentences, his time in prison should extend to 175 years.

“Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice,” Ms. Raisman said in court on Friday. “Well, you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice, and I am only just beginning to use them. All these brave women have power, and we will use our voices to make sure you get what you deserve: a life of suffering spent replaying the words delivered by this powerful army of survivors.”


Judge Rosemarie Aquilina read a portion of a letter written by Dr. Nassar.

Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

“I was told to trust him, that he would treat my injuries and make it possible for me to achieve my Olympic dreams,” Ms. Maroney said in a statement read by a prosecutor on Thursday. “Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving ‘medically necessary treatment’ that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.”

“Dr. Nassar was not a doctor,” she said. “He in fact is, was, and forever shall be a child molester, and a monster of a human being.”

As part of a lawsuit settlement, Ms. Maroney had signed a nondisclosure agreement with U.S.A. Gymnastics that would have caused her to be fined more than $100,000 for speaking about the abuse. After several celebrities offered to pay the fine for her, the organization said it would not fine her, and she was able to make her statement.

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Ms. Wieber made a statement in person on Friday, saying: “Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of. Nobody was ever concerned whether or not we were being sexually abused.”

Dr. Nassar objected to the many statements, saying that Judge Aquilina had turned the hearing into a “media circus.” The judge dismissed his complaint. “Spending four or five days listening to them is significantly minor, considering the hours of pleasure you had at their expense and ruining their lives,” the judge replied.

A lawsuit has been filed by scores of victims against Dr. Nassar, U.S.A. Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body and Michigan State, where he worked.

Moments after the judge delivered her sentence, the United States Olympic Committee issued a statement calling on the entire gymnastics board to resign and announcing other steps to investigate Dr. Nassar’s conduct and repair the damage done to the sport. The Olympic committee’s chief executive, Scott Blackmun, also apologized for not attending the hearing, after gymnasts took the U.S.O.C. to task for failing to protect them.

Carla Correa contributed reporting.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/24/sports/larry-nassar-sentencing.html

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