Former Michigan State and Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to no less than 40 years and up to 175 years in a Michigan state prison Wednesday, concluding an intense seven day sentencing hearing featuring more than 150 statements from women, many of them gymnasts he abused under the guise of a medical examination.
The sentence, handed down in response to Nassar’s pleading guilty to ten sexual assault charges, comes after the formerly world renowned sports physician was sentenced to 60 years on child pornography charges in 2017.
“There are no words that can express the depth and breadth of how sorry I am,” Nassar said in a statement issued before the sentencing. “Your words these past several days have had a significant effect on myself and have shaken me to my core. I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
“I just signed your death warrant,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina responded after handing down the sentence.
“I’m not nice,” she added.
Aquilina read from a letter she received from Nassar before the trial, explaining that she considered the letter in determining his sentence. In the letter, Nassar asked her to forego a trial, citing the difficulty of listening to his victims. He also defended his actions, arguing his victims were seeking attention and money.
The first victim to step forward, Rachael Denhollander, was the last to speak during the hearing. Denhollander, now a 32 year old Kentucky attorney, accused the well known sports physician of molesting her in the early 1990s when she was just 15 years old.
“Larry is the most dangerous type of abuser,” Denhollander said during her Wednesday court appearance. “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.”
USA Gymnastics announced the resignation of three board members Monday. Their former chief executive resigned in March amid criticism for his handling of the Nassar allegations. The NCAA sent a letter to Michigan State Tuesday regarding possible rules violations and opened an investigation into how the university handled the allegations.
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