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Sports doctor sentenced to 40-175 years

  • Larry Nassar sits with attorney Matt Newburg during his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. The former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation's top gymnasts for years was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison as the judge declared: "I just signed your death warrant." The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing in which scores of Nassar's victims were able to confront him face to face in the Michigan courtroom. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Carlos Osorio

  • Rachael Denhollander addresses Larry Nassar before his sentencing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, during the final day of victim impact statements in Lansing, Mich. The former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation's top gymnasts for years was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison as the judge declared: "I just signed your death warrant." The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing in which scores of Nassar's victims were able to confront him face to face in the Michigan courtroom. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP) MATTHEW DAE SMITH

  • Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander, left, is hugged by Kaylee Lorincz after giving her victim impact statement during the seventh day of Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which is the sport's national governing organization and trains Olympians. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Carlos Osorio

  • Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander gives her victim impact statement during the seventh day of Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which is the sport's national governing organization and trains Olympians. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Carlos Osorio

  • Gymnast Kaylee Lorincz gives her victim impact statement during Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing Wednesday, in Lansing, Mich. ap photo

  • Gymnast Kaylee Lorincz, standing with her coach, gives her victim impact statement during the seventh day of Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which is the sport's national governing organization and trains Olympians. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Carlos Osorio

  • Dr. Larry Nassar wipes his face after a gymnast gave her victim impact statement during the seventh day of his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which is the sport's national governing organization and trains Olympians. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Carlos Osorio

  • Sterling Riethman, right, is hugged after giving her victim impact statement during the seventh day of Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which is the sport's national governing organization and trains Olympians. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Carlos Osorio

  • Sterling Riethman gives her victim impact statement during the seventh day of Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which is the sport's national governing organization and trains Olympians. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Carlos Osorio

  • Dr. Larry Nassar is escorted into court during the seventh day of his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which is the sport's national governing organization and trains Olympians. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Carlos Osorio

  • Judge Rosemarie Aquilina listens to Abigayle Bergeron's victim statement during the sixth day of Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which is the sport's national governing organization and trains Olympians. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP) Dale G Young

  • Larry Nassar sits during his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. The former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation's top gymnasts for years was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison as the judge declared: "I just signed your death warrant." The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing in which scores of Nassar's victims were able to confront him face to face in the Michigan courtroom. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Carlos Osorio



Associated Press
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

LANSING, Mich. — The former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation’s top gymnasts for years under the guise of medical treatment was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison by a judge who proudly told him, “I just signed your death warrant.”

The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing in which more than 150 women and girls offered statements about being abused by Larry Nassar, a physician who was renowned for treating athletes at the sport’s highest levels. Many confronted him face to face in the Michigan courtroom.

“It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again. You have done nothing to control those urges and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said.

Nassar’s actions were “precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable,” she said.

When the hearing ended, the courtroom broke into applause. Victims and prosecutors embraced at the conclusion of the grueling 16-month case.

But the anguish of the past week will have little, if any, practical effect on Nassar’s fate. Before serving the Michigan sentence, the 54-year-old must first serve a 60-year federal sentence for child pornography crimes. With credit for good behavior, he could complete that sentence in about 55 years. By then, he would be more than 100 years old if still alive.

A prosecutor called Nassar “possibly the most prolific serial child sex abuser in history” and said gymnastics provided the “perfect place” for his crimes because victims saw him as a “god.”

Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis also said Nassar “perfected a built-in excuse and defense” as a doctor, even though he was “performing hocus-pocus medicine.”

“It takes some kind of sick perversion to not only assault a child but to do so with her parent in the room, to do so while a lineup of eager young gymnasts waited,” Povilaitis said.

At one point, Nassar turned to the courtroom gallery to make a brief statement, saying that the victims’ accounts had “shaken me to my core.” He said “no words” can describe how sorry he is.

“I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days” he said as many of his accusers wept.

The judge then read from a letter that Nassar had written to her that raised questions about whether he was truly remorseful. The victims who packed the courtroom gasped as they heard passages that included “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and another in which Nassar said the “stories” about him were fabricated.

Accusers said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them, often without explanation, while they were on a table seeking help for various injuries.

The accusers, many of whom were children, said they trusted Nassar and were in denial about what was happening or were afraid to speak up. He sometimes used a sheet or his body to block the view of any parent in the room.

Several elite former gymnasts talked about how Nassar won their allegiance with candy, Olympic trinkets and encouraging words while they were under constant scrutiny from demanding coaches.

Brooke Hylek, a gymnast who plans to compete in college, heaped scorn on Nassar. “I cannot believe I ever trusted you, and I will never forgive you,” she said Tuesday. “I’m happy you will be spending the rest of your life in prison. Enjoy hell by the way.”