Gym­nasts’ physi­cian gets tough sen­tence

Will serve 60 years on child porn charges

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS - By Will Hob­son WASHINGTON POST

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.

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