Once a world-renowned sports physician, former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar now will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Nassar was already facing a minimum of 25 to 40 years in prison after he had pled guilty in November to first-degree criminal sexual conduct on seven girls. Today’s sentence of seven counts of criminal sexual conduct will be added onto his existing sentence.
He offered a short statement in court, apologizing and saying that hearing seven days of victim impact statements had shaken him to his core.
“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.”
But before delivering her sentence, Judge Aquilina read a letter Nassar wrote to the court recently in which he defended his medical care, saying he was “manipulated” into pleading guilty, and accused the women of lying.
“I was a good doctor because my treatments worked, and those patients that are now speaking out are the same ones that praised and came back over and over,” Nassar wrote. “The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad. They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
The letter “tells me you still don’t get it,” Aquilina said, tossing the letter dismissively.
“You’ve done nothing to deserve to walk outside a prison again.”
“I just signed your death warrant.”
Over 150 women, including U.S. Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, delivered statements about the sexual abuse Nassar committed. All recounted similar stories of how they went to Nassar to receive treatment for sports injuries only to be sexually assaulted and told it was a form of treatment.
Nassar’s crimes and ensuing trial has focused critical attention on USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University, the institutions that employed him for about two decades. A number of women have accused the organizations of turning a blind eye to his abuse and even pressuring outspoken victims into silence. All three organizations have denied wrongdoing and said they reported the sexual abuse allegations to authorities once they learned about them.
USA Gymnastics has now cut ties with the Karolyi Ranch, the training facility where the abuse happened, and three leaders of its board have stepped down. The US Olympic Committee called on the rest of the USA Gymnastics board to step down and said it was considering decertifying USA Gymnastics as a national governing body. The USOC also apologized for failing to stop Nassar’s abuse and for its inadequate response at his trial and the NCAA has announced that it has opened an investigation into Michigan State’s handling of the case.