Disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar was recently sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing girls for more than 2 decades.
Nassar had pleaded guilty to 7 counts of criminal sexual conduct in Michigan and admitted to using his trusted medical position to assault and molest girls under the guise of medical treatment.
Doctor's Victims Described Sexual Abuse in Court
The judge presiding over the sentencing allowed all victims who came forth to speak about their experiences, resulting in 7 days of victim impact statements. 156 women and girls spoke in court about the sexual abuse they experienced at Nassar's hands when they sought him out for sports injuries treatment.
Many of the women said that when they spoke up about Nassar's "treatments," they were ignored or had their concerns dismissed by organizations in power - USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University and the US Olympic Committee.
Nassar, age 54, has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for federal child pornography charges and has pleaded guilty to other charges. Clearly he will remain in prison for the rest of his life as the first opportunity for parole is in 99 years.
The judged kept the focus of the week-long sentencing hearing on the victims - or the "survivors" as they call themselves. Many have struggled with anxiety, depression and some instances of self-harm because of the abuse, and some no longer trust doctors or avoid any physical touch.
Nassar's Employers Ignored or Covered Up the Sexual Abuse
Victims have accused the 3 organizations that employed Nassar for 20 years of ignoring the abuse and even pressuring outspoken victims into silence. Because of this case, the organizations are facing critical attention:
- MSU has asked the state attorney general to investigate its response to the abuse and the president has faced resignation calls.
- USA Gymnastics has cut ties with the training facility where the abuse happened and 3 of its board leaders have stepped down.
- The US Olympic Committee has called on the rest of the USA Gymnastics board to step down and is considering decertifying the organization as a national governing body.
Sexual abuse of a child is a particularly heinous crime. Participating in sports can help young athletes develop a sense of solidarity with team members in addition to providing a fun way to exercise.
However, for Larry Nassar's victims - young athletes whose parents placed their trust in the supporting institutions to choose the right individuals for treatment and training - sports activities became a nightmare of sexual abuse. The brave individuals who spoke up helped bring a dangerous criminal to justice.
We Can Help If You Have Been a Victim of Sexual Assault
If you or a family member has experienced sexual assault of any kind or has been injured in an accident or by any other type of personal injury, or needs help with any employment discrimination or family law issue, please contact the Law Offices of Paul S. Foreman, P.C. immediately. We have the right experience to get the optimal results for your case. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Paul S. Foreman, personal injury attorney in Essex County, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 973-315-3232 or contact us via the website.