Last June we reported on Larry Nassar, a nationally recognized sports medicine specialist for the University of Michigan who had been embroiled in a sex scandal involving his patients. Dr. Nassar abused his position in order to sexually assault gymnasts who had sought out the highly regarded doctor, a case that only came to light after Nassar was found in the possession of child pornography.
Initially, Nassar claimed his innocence in response to these serious allegations, but it was soon uncovered that complaints against the disgraced doctor had been reported to the University as far back as 2014. Nassar would remain in his position with the University until 2016 when he was dismissed after the scandal broke.
While it’s been alleged that Nassar victimized more than 130 former patients, 49 victims came forward and were prepared to testify against the doctor, which included Olympic gold medalists Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman. As each victim reported their experience with the doctor their stories began to show similar patterns.
According to his victims, Dr. Nassar would penetrate them digitally with ungloved hands under the guise of medical treatment. In some cases, parents of the athletes had been present in the room while he performed these “examinations.”
In an unexpected twist, Nassar has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting seven of his former patients, three of which were under the age of 13-years-old. Nassar stated to the court that he hoped his guilty plea would help his victims and the community move forward and focus on healing.
“I pray the rosary every day for their forgiveness,” Nassar said. “I have no animosity for anyone. I just want healing. It’s time.”
In response to Nassar’s guilty plea Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina stated on behalf of Nassar’s victims, “You used your position of trust that you had in the most vile way, to abuse children,” adding that it could take years for his victims to move past what had occurred in Nassar’s offices. “You were trained as a healer, and what you did was harm them.”
While he has not yet been sentenced, he is currently facing between 25 and 40 years for criminal sexual conduct.
On November 27, Nassar will again face the judge in order to determine his sentence for the child pornography charges that are credited with blowing the entire scandal wide open. MLive reports that Nassar could receive between 22 and 27 years for these separate charges, leaving the disgraced doctor with the possibility of spending as many 60 years behind bars.