Larry Nassar, the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison for sexually assaulting women and girls whom he was supposed to treat.
For seven days, the judge at Nassar’s sentencing allowed victims to read statements about how Nassar had affected their lives.
Kyle Stephens testified that she had been “coming for” Nassar for a long time, and relished in justice finally being served. Stephens’ testimony was particularly important, as her reports to police and child protective services finally led to Nassar’s arrest. Until last week, she was known only as Victim ZA.
Nassar plead guilty to the crimes in November, and he’s already serving a 60-year prison sentence for federal child pornography charges. Though there was never any chance of Nassar being released in his lifetime, the sentencing hearing was more for his survivors to address him personally and hopefully get some sort of closure.
Nassar had previously written a letter to the court about how difficult it was for him to hear victim testimony, and a GIF of Judge Rosemarie Aquilina tossing it away is making her a social media star.
Before he was sentenced, Nassar read a brief statement. It read in part: “There are no words that can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred. An acceptable apology to all of you is impossible to write and convey. I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
Even though Nassar is, obviously, no longer employed by USA Gymnastics, he’s going to be causing them problems for a long time to come. Brands like AT&T, Under Armor, Hershey’s, Proctor & Gamble, and Kellogg’s have either pulled their sponsorship or declined to renew a deal.
For Olympic athletes like Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and more, this is justice served for a man who has haunted their lives for so long. We’d hope, however, that their legacy can be their accomplishments in the sport they’ve worked so hard for, and not overshadowed by the cruel and shocking deeds of one man.
Do you think this moment will be a turning point in how we treat victims of sexual abuse? Let us know in the comments below.
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