“I’ve Just Signed Your Death Warrant,” Larry Nassar sentenced 40 to 125 years for decades of sexual abuse and child pornography

Larry Nassar, a once-renowned doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, has been sentenced 40-125 years in prison with no eligibility for parole until 2117, for years of criminal sexual abuse.

Nassar was sentenced on Monday, February 5, 2018 by Judge Janice Cunningham in Eaton County, Michigan. At his sentencing hearing, Nassar apologized for his years of sexual abuse, saying his victims’ statements “impacted me to my innermost core.” He also claimed in his apology that, “The visions of your testimonies will forever be present in my thoughts.” However, Judge Janice Cunningham was not buying it. Citing Nassar’s earlier claims of no wrongdoing, she sentenced him to a lengthy stay in prison and said that he was in “denial.” She claims that she was not convinced Nassar truly understood that what he did was not only wrong and grotesque, but the magnitude of what he did and the devastating life-long impact he has made on the victims, family and friends.

Nassar pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County. The once renowned and respected doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University admitted to using his position as a trusted doctor to sexually abuse young girls under the fa├žade of providing medical treatment. Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges and was sentenced to 60 years in prison in December. He pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County in Michigan.

The Eaton County sentence will run concurrently with the 40-175-year sentence in Ingham County, Michigan. He will serve those sentences after a separate 60-year sentence in federal prison for child pornography. Nassar will serve at least 100 years in prison, a suitable life sentence.

Nassar’s time in court was notable for the powerful, virtuous speeches from the survivors of his abuse. Nearly 200 girls and women spoke out in person or in statements at the Ingham County and Eaton County courts about how Nassar’s sexual abuse has changed their lives forever. At the Eaton County sentencing, Judge Janice Cunningham says to Nassar, “You will be left to sit there with only the memories of destroying your own family. I do not believe that you will have the ability to shut out the words of the children, and the young women and the adults who trusted you and who you let down. That will be your lifetime consequence.” Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said, “I’ve just signed your death warrant,” as she delivered the sentence.

Nassar is a gross example of the injustice our flawed legal system provides. He is the product of what happens when the people in power stand idly by and do nothing in the face of controversy. The fact that Nassar got away with what he did for so long to an exponential number of girls and young women is a disgrace and tragedy. Nassar is not the only guilty person in this case. The people in power at Michigan State University, U.S. Women’s Gymnastics, and all other organizations involved with Larry Nassar are equally as guilty as he is for ignoring the cries of victims, and for protecting a monster to keep the image of their organization/program in tact and unblemished. They will get what’s coming for them, and I hope this is a message to the rest of the world that women and men stand together to put an end to sexual abuse.

 

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