Judge Signs Larry Nassar’s Death Sentence

By Tessa Osteen

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Judge Rosemary Aquilina prompts victims to share their stories of sexual abuse.

     The formerly employed USA gymnastic & Michigan State doctor, has been sentenced up to 175 yrs in prison. Along With More than 160 victims, he has pleaded guilty to 10 accounts of first degree criminal sexual conduct. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina exclaimed,“ It’s my honor and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again.” Although many of his victims’ abuse started when they were teenagers, one victim’s abuse, Kyle Stephens, started when she was only 6 years old. Rachael Denhollander a victim says how, “Larry is the most dangerous type of abuser. One who is capable of manipulating his victims through coldly calculating grooming methodologies…”.

     Many women in the gymnastics circa have blamed USA gym and Michigan state for failing to report concerns on Larry Nassar’s behavior. Amanda Thomashow, another victim said, “I reported it. MSU the school I loved and trusted, had the audacity to tell me that I did not understand the difference between sexual assault and a medical procedure.” As of now the president of Michigan State has resigned from the opposition of students saying that the handling of accusations against Larry Nassar wasn’t taken seriously. Nassar’s abuse had been going on for more than 20 years since he found competitive gymnastics to be the “perfect place” for his crimes since his victims saw him so highly, the judge had pointed out.

     Over a seven day period of victims statements, the judge read a letter the last day of court that Nassar wrote to her. As she read and quoted it out loud to the courtroom, she later tossed it aside with disgust on her face. A statement from his writing read, “What I did in the state cases was medical not sexual…” At one point in the court hearing she looks over at him and asks, “Would you like to withdraw your plea?” “No your honor”, he replied. “Because you are guilty, aren’t you?” she asked.

     Many of these athletes who were victimized didn’t realize they were experiencing abuse at the time since many “Praised and came back over and over again…”, Nassar wrote in his note. Manipulating young women to think that it was nothing but medical treatment made them trust him more since coaches sent the athletes to Nassar. Some victims still question how the abuse went on for so long and how he was allowed to do this all these years at Michigan state and USA gymnastics. Rachael Denhollander, the first person to out Larry Nassar, was the last one to speak at his sentencing. As she had many things to say in the courtroom, Denhollander had to convince the judge of the corruption of Nassar’s actions against her and all the gymnasts.  

     At the end the system failed them and didn’t listen to many women who were looking for help. Denhollander added how, “Women and girls banded together to fight for themselves because no one else would do it.” Many women after their abuse experienced anxiety, depression and forms of self harm the following years. Throughout this court hearing the women showed bravery staring down Nassar although many were scared or nervous to be in the same room as him. Nassar to this day hasn’t admitted if he did or didn’t commit these horrendous crimes.  

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