Larry Nassar Victims Speak At Sentencing Hearing

Prosecutors expect 98 women to speak or submit written statements about the abuse suffered at the hands of Larry Nassar during his four-day sentencing hearing for criminal sexual conduct. The disgraced former doctor and convicted serial sexual predator pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in November. Nassar faces up to a life sentence, with a minimum of 25 to 40 years in prison.

Nassar, 54, was the national medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics and a renowned physician at Michigan State’s sports clinic. Unfortunately, his jobs apparently gave him unfettered access to sexually assault young female athletes. Police have received 135 complaints about Nassar since September 2016.

Multiple victims and victim representatives spoke out about the former USA Gymnastics doctor in the Michigan courtroom. During the hearing, Nassar sometimes appeared unable to look at the women speaking in front of him. The first woman to speak at his sentencing hearing said he first assaulted her when she was 6 years old. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar’s victims that “his story will end in prison.”

The list of girls and women who say Nassar abused them includes several Olympic medalists, female athletes who played a variety of sports, young women who saw Nassar for non-sports injuries, and family friends. The prosecuting attorneys have asked for a sentence of 40 to 125 years for his sexual abuse. He has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges

Several women alleged that they spoke to officials at Michigan State about Nassar’s abuse in the late 1990s. Michigan police investigated claims against him in 2004 and 2014, but no charges followed. More than 150 women have also filed lawsuits against Nassar and others in civil court. The suits claim Michigan State, USA Gymnastics, and high-ranking officials and coaches at both institutions failed to stop Nassar when they had opportunities to do so despite repeated warning signs.

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney is suing USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University, where Nassar also served, over a nondisclosure agreement she signed in December 2016, agreeing to stay quiet about the abuse she experienced. Maroney claims in her lawsuit that the nondisclosure agreement was illegal and was aimed at “further silencing his victims.” USA Gymnastics said it will not pursue any money from Maroney if she speaks publicly about alleged abuse.

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