Former doctor sentenced to life in prison
The fate of the former Michigan State University physician and USA Gymnastics team doctor whose vile acts of sexual abuse spanned over 30 years has finally been decided. Larry Nassar received a 40- 175 year sentence on counts of criminal sexual misconduct, on top of his current 60 year sentence for child pornography charges counted against him in 2015, according to CNN.
The sexual abuse publicly came to light in 2016 in investigative reports by The Indianapolis Star. The newspaper claimed that USA Gymnastics had withheld "files of complaints involving more than 50 coaches suspected of abusing athletes," according to the New York Times. The newspaper found that, in many cases, the information had never been reported to law enforcement.
“The Nassar case really hits home for me, as an athlete and gymnast especially, because it shows how easily people in positions of power can take advantage of their athletes,” said senior Molly Cooke.
In the midst of the unrelated investigation about gymnastics coaches, victims of Nassar’s abuse began coming forward, courageously sharing their hidden stories with the world. Dozens of those women shared their victim statements before Nassar, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina and the court during the trials, which took place in Ingham County, Michigan on Jan. 16-24.
“[The accusations] show you how manipulative sexual predators are/can be,” said Orange gymnastics coach Jen Hedrick. “[It shows] how our society prioritizes athletics."
Nassar was an osteopathic surgeon, meaning that he used his hands to move a patient’s muscles and joints, according to Indystar. Throughout the trials, Nassar held to his claim that every incident with a patient was strictly for medical purposes, according to the New York Times.
Judge Aquilina, a circuit court judge in Ingham County, Michigan, was a force to be reckoned with over the course of the trials and vehemently refused Nassar's excuses.
"It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. Because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again,” Aquilina said before sentencing Nassar to a life sentence in prison. “Sir, I am giving you 175 years, which is 2,100 months. I have just signed your death warrant.”
Since the trials, several members of the USA Gymnastics committee have resigned from their positions in compliance with Olympic Committee Chief Executive Scott Backhum’s demand, according to CNN. The athletic director and president of Michigan State University also resigned from their positions in the wake of the sentencing.
“I hope this case can help spread awareness of the dangers of sexual predators, especially in sports,” said Cooke. The Federal Bureau of Prisons said that Nassar will begin his 60-year sentence for child pornography crimes in a high- security federal prison in Tucson, Arizona.
It’s safe to say that with his current and foreseeable circumstances, nobody will be seeing or hearing much from Nassar in the years to come.