Gymnasts’ physician gets tough sentence
Will serve 60 years on child porn charges
A judge sentenced Larry Nassar, the former Olympic gymnastics team physician and longtime Michigan State University instructor, to 60 years in prison on Thursday for federal child pornography crimes. The sentence, handed down by a judge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ensures that Nassar, 54, likely will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Nassar, accused in civil and criminal complaints of sexually assaulting more than 140 women, also has pleaded guilty to several sex crimes in two counties in Michigan, and will be sentenced for those charges in separate hearings in state courts next month. The judge Thursday ordered Nassar to serve his federal sentence – 20 years each for three counts – consecutively to state sentences, seemingly foreclosing any possibility he obtains an early release.
Olympians McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas are among those who have said Nassar It’s likely assaulted them. Larry Nassar
“He abused my will not get trust, he abused out of prison. my body and he left scars on my psyche that may never go away ... Maroney wrote in a statement to the judge before Thursday’s hearing.
Once one of the most respected sports physicians in the country specializing in treating gymnasts, Nassar’s swift downfall started last August, when a woman filed a police report alleging Nassar had assaulted her during a medical examination years prior, when she was a 15-year-old gymnast in Michigan seeking treatment for back pain.
The woman - Rachael Denhollander, 32, of Louisville, Kentucky - then told her story to the Indianapolis Star, prompting dozens of women, including several former Team USA gymnasts, to come forward with similar allegations. Women accused Nassar of assaulting them at a campus clinic at Michigan State, at local gyms across the country, at the Karolyi Ranch in Texas, and at international competitions around the globe, including the 2000 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
Michigan State fired Nassar last September. Michigan authorities arrested him last November, and in December, federal authorities added child pornography charges.
While the criminal penalties for Nassar will be decided over the next few weeks, the fallout for those that employed him, or allowed him to volunteer his services and work with children, may have just begun. More than 100 civil claims are pending against Michigan State and USA Gymnastics.