‘I just signed your death warrant,’ Olympic doctor Larry Nassar sentenced to 175 years in jail
Disgraced former US Olympic doctor, Larry Nassar was sentenced up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting minors.
This is in addition to a sixty year sentence from 2017 for child pornography. Nassar is due to be sentenced next week for three further charges of sexual misconduct, ensuring that he will die in prison.
The sentence follows a week of victim statements from 156 women accusing Nassar of assault.
Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman who won gold at the 2016 games, said in her statement that she wished to see Nassar’s influence on gymnastics “destroyed like the cancer that it is”.
The hearing had initially been intended to last just one week, but it went into a second as more survivors came forward.
Nassar attempted to defend his actions via a letter to the court, claiming he had been manipulated into making a guilty plea and that the victim stories had been fabricated and sensationalised.
The judge presiding over the case, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said Nassar was beyond rehabilitation.
“I’ve just signed your death warrant,” she told the court.
Aquilina has been praised for her personal response to the victims.
Nassar’s abuse was initially made public in September 2016, by former gymnast Rachael Denhollander.
However, Nassar was not arrested until November of the same year.
Speaking in court, Denhollander criticised the systems which had failed her and her fellow athletes.
“Women and girls banded together to fight for themselves, because no one would do it for us,” she said.
Whilst his abuse may have been made public in 2016, it was going on for longer with the first claimed incidence going back to the 1980s.
The US Olympic Committee has called for the resignation of USA Gymnastics directors following the sentencing.
USA Gymnastics declined to appear at the hearing, however Chief Executive Scott Blackmun apologised to the victims.
“The Olympic family is among those who have failed you,” he said.
The US Olympic Committee have launched an investigation into the Gymnastic governing bodies and Michigan State University to find out who knew about Nassar’s actions.
One thing is for sure, even with Nassar behind bars, the search for justice is just beginning.