Judge gives lengthy sentence to former USA Gymnastics doctor and tells him it is a 'death warrant'
The former team doctor for USA Gymnastics has been sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing seven girls.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina of Lansing, Michigan, sentenced Larry Nassar on Wednesday after allowing more than 150 women and girls to give victim impact statements during a seven-day sentencing hearing. “I’ve just signed your death warrant,” Aquilina told Nassar. The New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press have reports.
Nassar had been accused of molesting girls, including Olympic gymnasts, while providing medical treatments for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. His sentence was for conduct in Ingham County, Michigan. He has not yet been sentenced for molestation charges in Eaton County, Michigan.
“Your decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable,” Aquilina said. “You can’t give them back their innocence, their youth. You can’t give a father back his life, or one of your victims back her life when she took it. You can’t return the daughter to the mother, the father to the daughter. You played on everyone’s vulnerability. “
Before imposing the sentence, Aquilina read parts of a letter Nassar had written to the court in which he said the women were seeking media attention and money. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” he wrote. The line produced “audible gasps” in the courtroom, according to the Times.
Nassar also complained about his treatment in a separate federal child pornography case in which he was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
According to the Times, “the case and its ramifications are far from over.” The chairman and several board members of USA Gymnastics have resigned. Calls mounted for the resignation of Michigan State University’s president, Lou Anna Simon, and she announced she was leaving Wednesday evening, the Chicago Tribune reports. The NCAA has opened an investigation of Michigan State’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against Nassar.
Several lawsuits have also been filed against Nassar, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. The suits allege officials knew or should have known of Nassar’s abuse, yet did nothing, the Lansing State Journal reports.
The first woman to publicly accuse Nassar was Kentucky lawyer Rachael Denhollander, who was the last to give a statement at the sentencing hearing. Denhollander contacted the Indianapolis Star in 2016 after seeing its investigative report of sexual abuse in USA Gymnastics. She reported her allegations to Michigan State University the next week, the Star reports.
“Larry is the most dangerous type of abuser,” Denhollander said at the sentencing hearing. “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.”
Updated on Jan. 25 to include information about resignation of MSU president.