LANSING, Michigan —
Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been sentenced to up to 175 years in prison, a judge announced Wednesday after hearing statements from more than 150 women and girls who said he sexually abused them over the past two decades.
“I’ve just signed your death warrant,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said. “I find that you don’t get it, that you’re a danger. That you remain a danger.”
Larry Nassar defended his medical practices and accused the women who said he sexually abused them of lying for media attention and financial reward, according to a letter he wrote to the court last week.
“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 in the letter. “The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad. They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina read aloud parts of the letter in court during his sentencing.
Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar addressed the court in Lansing, Michigan, Wednesday before the judge announced his sentence on charges of sexual misconduct.
Nassar apologized in a brief statement, turning around to directly address the victims and saying that the comments “have shaken me to my core.”
“There are no words that can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred,” he said. “An acceptable apology to all of you is impossible to write and convey. I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
Fallout only beginning
Though the sentencing marks the end of Nassar’s time in the public eye, it has focused critical attention on USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University, the institutions that employed Nassar for about two decades. A number of women have accused the organizations of turning a blind eye to Nassar’s abuse and even pressuring outspoken victims into silence.
“Michigan State University, the school I loved and trusted, had the audacity to tell me that I did not understand the difference between sexual assault and a medical procedure,” Amanda Thomashow said in court. “That master manipulator took advantage of his title, he abused me, and when I found the strength to talk about what had happened I was ignored and my voice was silenced.”
All three organizations have denied wrongdoing and said they reported the sexual abuse allegations to authorities once they learned about them.
Still, the fallout at those organizations moved slowly and then all at once. In the past week, USA Gymnastics cut ties with the Karolyi Ranch, the training facility where the abuse happened, and three leaders of its board stepped down under pressure.
Michigan State University asked the state attorney general to investigate its response to the abuse, and President Lou Anna Simon has faced calls for her resignation.