September 23, 2020

Former Olympic doctor sentenced in landmark trial

By Grace Gottschling
Staff Writer

Larry Nassar, a former doctor for USA Gymnastics, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on Jan. 24 as part of an ongoing trial regarding his repeated sexual abuse of minors, according to CNN.

Nassar listens to dozens of victim testimonies. (AP Photo)

The trial notably featured passionate testimonies from dozens of his victims.

“Larry Nassar preyed on us for his own pleasure, leaving in his wake traumatized and broken girls,” said 17-year-old Jessica Thomashow in her testimony, according to BBC.

Thomashow was the first gymnast to file a Title IX complaint against Nassar. She was molested by Nassar at the age of nine, according to CNN.

65 of Nassar’s alleged 265 victims were scheduled to confront Nassar during the final three sentencing hearings, according to BBC. Nassar was convicted of possessing child pornography and is currently serving a 60-year sentence for those charges.

Among those who testified against Nassar were three sisters — Lauren, Morgan and Madison Margraves. Two of the sisters spoke of Nassar’s abuses in court on Feb. 2 with their father Randell Margraves, who stood solemnly nearby.

When the testimonies concluded, Randell Margraves asked to speak openly in the courtroom. He proceeded to ask Judge Janice K. Cunningham to allow him “five minutes in a locked room” with Nassar. Judge Cunningham denied this request, to which Margraves asked if he could be granted one minute with Nassar.

When Cunningham paused to respond, Margraves lunged across the courtroom in an attempt to reach Nassar. Margraves was promptly pulled to the ground by court authorities, but was released with no charges, according to The New York Times.

Assault allegations against Nassar began to pour in as early as 2014, according to CNN. Victims came forward from USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University where Nassar held an associate professorial position. He often treated young women on the university’s athletic teams.

In addition, Nassar targeted several Olympic athletes, including gold medalists Jordyn Wieber, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, according to TIME.

In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Raisman revealed she had spoken to the FBI about Nassar following the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, following allegations against USA Gymnastics of withholding reports of sexual abuse.

USA Gymnastics released a statement stating that every director on the board has stepped down. The organization will be running with an interim board of directors, according to BBC.

Maroney took to Twitter in October 2017, joining the #MeToo movement and coming forward about the abuse she suffered by Nassar while on the national gymnastics team. Maroney said the abuse began when she was 13 and continued until she left USA Gymnastics in 2016, according to ABC.

“This is happening everywhere,” Maroney wrote. “Wherever there is a position of power, there is the potential for abuse.”

It is expected that at the final sentencing, Nassar will have an added minimum sentence of 25-40 years, according to BBC.

Roughly 140 victims are pursuing USA Gymnastics, MSU and Nassar in a civil suit accusing the institutions of ignoring the assault allegations, according to BBC.

CNN published US Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina’s full address to Nassar.

“As much as it was my honor and privilege to hear the sister survivors, it was my honor and privilege to sentence you. Because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again,” Aquilina said.

“You have not owned yet what you did. I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir… I’ve just signed your death warrant.”

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