Former US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar sentenced to 275 years in prison

Dora Kreitzer, Staff Writer

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From Jan. 17-24, 2018, at the Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing, Michigan, a hearing occured for USA Gymnastics’ former physician Lawrence G. Nassar, who was accused of sexual assault of over 250 women and girls in the past two decades. This was the second of 3 court cases for Nassar, all relating to sexual misconduct with minors.
Nassar first appeared in court in July 2017, where he plead guilty to both possessing and attempting to destroy nearly 40,000 seperate pieces of child pornography. On Dec. 7, 2017, Nassar received a 60 year federal prison sentence for these child pornography charges, which are separate from his later charges of sexual assault. He appeared in court once more the week after the USA Gymnastics hearing to hear more victims’ testimonies from Eaton County, Michigan, where he previously worked for Twistars Gymnastics Club.
During his USA Gymnastics sentencing in Ingham County Circuit Court, Nassar wrote a letter to submit to the court during his hearing, stating “I was a good doctor because my treatments worked and those patients who are now speaking out are the same ones that praised and came back over and over… Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
In this same letter, Nassar complained of the length of the testimonies, which spanned a full week. During those seven days, 156 victims gave testimonies. Victims ranged from Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and Simone Biles to young student volleyball players and dancers, ages 6 and above. Of the women who gave testimonies, many told Nassar that he had made a grave mistake.
On the first day of testimonies, Nassar’s family friend, Kyle Stephens, the only non-athlete to give a testimony, addressed Nassar, saying, “Little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy [his] world.”
Similarly, Olympic gold medalist Raisman stated in her testimony that “All these brave women have power, and [will use their] voices to make sure [he gets] what [he deserves:] A life of suffering spent replaying the words delivered by this powerful army of survivors.”
As a result of the amount and accusations of testimonies from victims, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40-175 years in prison.
Many of the victims also claimed in their testimonies that USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee, and Michigan State University all ignored complaints about Nassar’s behavior and kept him employed for more than two decades.
Lindsay Lemke, former team captain at Michigan State University gymnastics, said she wished that former MSU President Anna Lou Simon would “come up to this podium and be half as brave as all of [the victims] have had to be the past year and a half. … to come up here and confidently tell us the reasons why you don’t think that you are responsible.”
All of the organizations denied these accusations, saying that they reported to the authorities as soon as they were informed of Nassar’s actions. Due to such allegations, Simon resigned, as well as the entire USA Gymnastics Board of Directors.
Taylan Bynum, a Humanities freshman and competitive gymnast, stated that they “will have to rebuild the entire committee from scratch,” which interferes with the lengthy timeline of preparation for the 2020 summer Olympics, including “looking at potential gymnasts to put on the team, the entire training, and also finding a training camp, which is the most important part.”
Following his three sentencings in Federal Court, Eaton County, and Ingham County, Nassar faces a minimum of 125 years of incarceration and a maximum of 275 years. He will serve his 60 year federal sentence before he begins his state sentences.