Larry Nassar: Disgraced US Olympics doctor jailed for 175 years

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US & Canada

Larry Nassar: Disgraced US Olympics doctor jailed for 175 years

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Image copyright
Reuters

Ex-US Olympic gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar has been sentenced to 40 to 175 years after testimony from nearly 160 of his victims.The judge dismissed Nassar’s statement as insincere as he attempted to apologise to the court. Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault against girls and young women, including Olympians. Judge Rosemarie Aqualina told Nassar during the sentencing he will “be in darkness the rest of his life”.
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Media captionLarry Nassar tells victims “an acceptable apology is impossible””As much as it was my honour and privilege to hear the sister survivors, it was my honour and privilege to sentence you. Because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again,” she said. “You have not owned yet what you did. I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir,” she told the former doctor, adding: “I’ve just signed your death warrant”.The 156 women who confronted a predator
The judge who let survivors speak
He had already been sentenced to 60 years for possession of child pornography, before pleading guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
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Media captionWhat it was like to testify against Larry NassarFollowing seven days of emotional testimony from Nassar’s victims, he was given an opportunity to address the court.”What I am feeling pales in comparison to the pain, trauma, and emotional destruction that all of you are feeling,” he told the packed courtroom.”There are no words to describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred,” he added.A story of survivalRajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News, Lansing, MichiganSitting in court throughout the seven day hearing, the stories have been strikingly similar – the former USA gymnastics team doctor would call the women in for treatment, but instead of taking away their pain, he stole their innocence. Some were so young they didn’t realise until years later that they had been sexually abused. As Larry Nassar sat in his prison overalls, just metres away from them, survivor after survivor looked him in the eye and reminded him of what he’d done to them. And that’s been the most extraordinary thing about this hearing. While the content of their testimony has been harrowing, it’s also been inspiring.  For survivors of sexual abuse it’s hard to relive the experience, let alone do so in front of your attacker. Follow @BBCRajiniVBut the judge said that she found his apology insincere, pointing to a letter he wrote to her after his guilty plea claiming that his accusers had “fabricated” their allegations to gain money and fame.Courtroom spectators audibly gasped when the judge read a passage in which Nassar said he had been “manipulated” into admitting his guilt.”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.He added in the letter: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”As the judge finished her sentence, witnesses in the packed courtroom stood and applauded her verdict.His sentencing follows a week of harrowing testimony from scores of women, including Olympic gold medal gymnasts Aly Raisman and Jordyn Weiber.
Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Rachael Denhollander said: “How much is a little girl worth?”

Their teammates, McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles, have also said they were abused by Nassar. As the court adjourned, the US Olympic Committee (USOC) announced it would hold an independent investigation into the sex abuse scandal.”The USOC has decided to launch an investigation by an independent third party to examine how an abuse of this proportion could have gone undetected for so long,” USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun wrote in an open letter.On Tuesday, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) said it would investigate Michigan State University’s (MSU) handling of abuse claims by gymnasts.Rachael Denhollander, who was one of the first women to publicly identify herself as one of Nassar’s victims, pointed the finger at MSU in court on Wednesday.”How much is a little girl worth? How much is a young woman worth?” Ms Denholldander asked as she described the abuse that occurred when she was 15 years old.”No one believed because they did not listen,” she said, recounting the several times victims told MSU of their allegations.”Victims were silenced, intimidated, told they were receiving medical treatment, and at times sent back to be further abused.”This is what it looks like when institutions create a culture when a predator can behave unabated.”

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