LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) — After listening to statements of more than 150 victims, a Michigan judge handed down her sentence to former sports doctor Larry Nassar.
Nassar was sentenced 40-175 years in prison. He had faced a minimum prison term of 25-40 years. He worked for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, and pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing area. His sentencing hearing went on for a total of seven days.
Nassar did speak briefly before his sentencing, and offered an apology.
“An acceptable apology to all of you is impossible to write,” Nassar said to the court. “I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
Defense attorney Matt Newburg said Nassar’s “soul is broken.”
The survivors who spoke said Nassar would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them, often without explanation, while they were on a table seeking help for various injuries. Many stated they were children at the time, and that a parent was in the room with them. They said Nassar would use a sheet or his body to block the parent’s view. Many also stated he told them to wear “baggy shorts” to all appointments.
“Your decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable,” Judge Aquilina said to Nassar.
The women who spoke throughout the trial have included Olympians Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney. One survivor said MSU is still charging her for appointments where the sexual abuse took place.
On Tuesday, the NCAA reportedly launched an investigation of Michigan State University and the school’s handling of the decades-long assault. The school’s board of trustees has also asked the attorney general to investigate the school’s handling.
Many of the victims said in their statements MSU and other gymnastics authorities got wind of the assaults in the late ’90s, but no actions were taken against Nassar. In 2014 the university’s investigation of allegations against Nassar turned up empty.
Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis thanked and brought attention to Rachel Denhollander at the hearing, the first woman to publicly identify herself as one of Nassar’s young victims. Denhollander contacted Michigan State University police in 2016 after reading reports about how USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, mishandled complaints of sexual misconduct.
Judge Aquilina praised the victims who appeared in her court since Jan. 16, calling them “sister survivors,” while also assuring them that their perpetrator will pay. She said it was an honor and privilege to hear them speak.
Separately, Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes, and is also scheduled to be sentenced next week on more assault convictions in Eaton County, Michigan.
After looking at the math on her so-called “cheat sheet” for the prison terms, Judge Aquilina said to Nassar — “I have just signed your death warrant.”