Former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced Wednesday to as many as 175 years in prison for sexual abuse of young women under his care. The sentencing came at the conclusion of a seven-day hearing that saw 156 of Nassar’s victims confront him in a Lansing, Mich., courtroom.
“I just signed your death warrant,” said Judge Rosemaire Aquilina at the end of the lengthy sentencing, which got national media attention.
Aquilina made the ruling and explained her decision to Nassar, telling the 54-year-old he will never live outside of a prison cell again.
“Your decision to assault was precise, manipulative … despicable,” Aquilina said. “You can’t give them back their innocence, their youth. … You preyed on everyone’s vulnerability. I’m not vulnerable. Not to you, not to criminals. … Sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again. You have not controlled your urges, and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur.”
Aquilina also called for a “massive investigation” into the years of silence surrounding Nassar’s crimes. “Justice requires more than what I can do on this bench,” she said.
Nassar used his position with both Michigan State and USA Gymnastics to groom and molest his victims for more than two decades. Nassar had pleaded guilty to the charges last year. He is already in prison on a 60-year sentence after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.
With the two sentences together, Nassar is currently facing a jail sentence of up to 235 years.
Larry Nassar will first be eligible for parole in 99 years – the year 2117.
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) January 24, 2018
Nassar did have the chance to speak shortly before he was sentenced. Nassar addressed his victims, saying “an acceptable apology was impossible to convey.”
“There are no words that can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred,” Nassar said. “An acceptable apology to all of you is impossible to write and convey. I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
Aquilina allowed any of Nassar’s accusers to confront him during his sentencing. The women who stepped forward delivered emotional and powerful testimony about Nassar’s abuse. The long list of victims who spoke during the sentencing included Olympic gold medalists Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman.
“I will not rest until every last trace of your influence on this sport has been destroyed like the cancer it is,” Raisman told Nassar during the sentencing.
Rachael Denhollander, the first of Nassar’s victims to publicly accuse him, was the final person to give testimony Wednesday morning.
Rachael Denhollander is the last to speak. She begins by thanking Aquilina: "Our voices were taken for so long, and I do want to thank you for helping to get them back."
— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) January 24, 2018
Denhollander asks Aquilina to pass down a sentence that shows how much a little girl is worth, that it's a sentence that shows what he did was evil
— Matt Mencarini (@MattMencarini) January 24, 2018
With the sentencing over and Nassar set to spend his life in prison, the focus will turn to Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, which both have faced backlash for their handling of allegations against Nassar.
Michigan State will be investigated by the NCAA and also the Michigan attorney general. There have been multiple calls for Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon to resign, but the board of trustees issued a statement of support of Simon late last week.
The post Larry Nassar sentenced to up to 175 years in prison: ‘I just signed your death warrant,’ judge says appeared first on Land of 10.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.