Olympic doctor sentenced for life

Larry Nassar will spend up to 175 years in prison for serial child molestation

Photos courtesy of NBC | A grand total of 156 women testified against Olympic doctor Larry Nassar during his trial for criminal sexual assault. Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in December for possession of more 3,700 images of child pornography and a video of Nassar molesting a child. Aly Raisman (above), an Olympic gold medalist for gymnastics, was one of the many high-profile accusers of Nassar.

Former USA Gymnastics (USAG) Olympic team doctor and Michigan State University (MSU) osteopathic physician Larry Nassar was sentenced 40 to 175 years on Jan. 22, after pleading guilty to 10 cases of first-degree criminal sexual contact with children under the age of 16, according to BBC. Nassar will serve his sentence after he completes a 60 year sentence he received in December for possession of more than 3,700 images of child pornography and a video that involved Nassar himself molesting a child, according to Time.

Judge Rosemary Aquiliana provided seven days for women victimized by Nassar to speak in court before issuing his sentence. Overall, 156 women, from Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber to 15-year-old gymnast Emma Ann Miller, testified against Nassar in court.

“I think that the judge that sentenced Nassar is a great example for others,” junior Maryn McCarty, vice president of Xavier Students Against Sexual Assault (XSASA) said. “She lets the victims know how strong they were for speaking in court and standing up to him — her courage means a lot for survivors, and she absolutely gave no sympathy to that terrible man.”

Nassar joined the medical staff of USAG in 1986 and began working at MSU in 1987 as an athletic trainer. The first allegation of sexual assault against him was reported to MSU in 1992. It appears that the first time MSU’s Title IX office thoroughly investigated an allegation against Nassar was in 2014, although he was not dismissed until 2016.

CNN reported that MSU is currently undergoing a massive investigation commissioned by Michigan’s attorney general to uncover why the university did not follow through with accusations against him for more than 20 years.

ESPN reported that USAG, the national governing body for gymnastics in the U.S., was accused of covering up for Nassar before they cut ties with him in 2015. Renowned gold medal winning gymnast McKayla Maroney filed a lawsuit in December against USAG and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) accusing the organizations of bribing her to prevent her story of sexual abuse from reaching the public. USOC denied involvement, placing the blame on USAG.

On Saturday, USOC demanded that all members of the board of directors of USAG resign, and USAG has complied, according to The Washington Post.

In the wake of Nassar’s court case, assault survivors, judges and commentators alike have speculated as to how Nassar was able to assault so many individuals for nearly 30 years.

Nassar was a renowned physician throughout athletics. During her testimony in court, gymnast Jade Capua recalled that Nassar was described to her family as “…a miracle worker. He can fix anyone or anything.”

The first survivor to publicly speak out against Nassar, Rachel Denhollander, blame MSU staff when she spoke to Fox news.

“We were silenced,” Denhollander said. “We were mocked, and our abuser was told time and time again, ‘I’m on your side.’ That gives me all I need to see how Nassar preyed on women and little girls for so many years.”

As for USAG, Nassar was on the board of USOC that created the safeguards to protect athletes from predators such as himself.

McCarty also expressed disbelief at how the situation was able to get as far as it did without Nassar receiving any prior punishment.

“I’m just trying to figure out how higher-up people in the gymnastics community knew about this and didn’t say anything,” McCarty said, “especially when so many children were involved.”

Olympic medal-winning gymnasts Mattie Lawson included in her testimony and Gabby Douglas has written on her Instagram that the extremely competitive environment of USAG was a factor in their silence.

By: Heather Gast ~Staff Writer~