USA GYMNASTICS OUTRAGE
Feb. 26, 2018
Laura Alyssa Platé, Contributing Writer
“I just signed your death warrant.”
Those were the words that rang out through the court room at the end of the sentencing of Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics Team Doctor, professor and athletic trainer at Michigan State.
In the past months, media attention has been on Larry Nassar and the 160+ underage girls—some as young as six years old—that he sexually assaulted.
In the most recent of three trials, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years after allowing nearly all of his victims to testify. Among those that spoke out were many commonplace American gymnasts such as Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Simone Biles.
One of the first to come forward with accusations, Rachael Denhollander, was in the last group of women that spoke during the trial.
“Larry is the most dangerous type of abuser,” Denhollander said. “One who is capable of manipulating his victims through coldly-calculated grooming methodologies, presenting the most wholesome and caring external persona as a deliberate means to ensure a steady stream of young children to assault.”
Denhollander was not the only of the nearly 160 women to assert their claims in court with great force.
“Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice,” Ally Raisman stated. “Well, you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice, and I am only just beginning to use them. All these brave women have power, and we will use our voices to make sure you get what you deserve: a life of suffering spent replaying the words delivered by this powerful army of survivors.”
Judge Aquilina sparked national attention with her fiery remarks at the sentencing, possibly brought on by a letter submitted to her from Nassar before his sentencing for her consideration.
“I would not send my dog to you,” Aquilina stated, later continuing on to say, “Dr. Nassar was not a doctor.”
“He in fact is, was and forever shall be a child molester, and a monster of a human being,” she said. “Your decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable, I do not have to add words because your survivors have said all of that and I do not want to repeat it. You cannot give them back their innocence, their youth.”
A portion of the letter that Nassar wrote to Judge Aquilina was read during sentencing.
“The media convinced [the victims] that everything I did was wrong and bad,” he wrote. “They feel I have broken their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. It is just a complete nightmare. The stories that are being fabricated to sensationalize this.”
In the video recorded during the sentencing, the judge can be seen tossing aside the letter when she finished reading excerpts and rather pointedly asks Nassar if he would like to change his plea.
This was only one of three trials for Nassar that has taken place in the last year. In November of 2017, he was sentenced to 60 years on child pornography charges and is still awaiting sentencing in a third trial for sexual abuse.
In the wake of these accusations and convictions, the United States Olympic Committee required the resignations of the entire USA Gymnastics Board as a part of a longer series of demands that must be met.
In addition to this, the president of Michigan State University, Lou Anna K. Simon, resigned after a resounding amount of political pressure from the student body and the nation.