By Kendall Gregory
Assistant Sports Editor
On Jan. 24, Lawrence Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years for sexual assault of minors. 156 women have accused Nassar of sexual abuse, including former Olympians Aly Raisman, Jordyn Weiber, Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney.
Nassar is the former United States of America (USA) Gymnastics national team doctor. He was on the medical staff for four summer Olympics. He also worked at Michigan State University (MSU) as an Osteopathic Physician and as the team doctor for their gymnastics team as well.
He has been accused of committing sexual abuse with minors for over 30 years.
“There are no words that can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred,” said Nassar. “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.”
Nassar worked at the Karolyi Ranch, the USA Gymnastics national team training center in Walker County, TX. He did not have a medical license to work in the state of Texas, which is a third-degree felony. The ranch is no longer the national team training site.
Nassar’s trial took place at Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing, Minn. The judge on the case was Rosemarie Aquilina, a graduate of MSU.
In November 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. He also pleaded guilty to three more counts in Eaton County, Mich. Rachael Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse in 2016.
Over the course of seven days, former patients of Nassar’s gave their statements in front of the court. They recounted events that happened while they were under his care and how those events have affected their lives since.
“Abuse goes way beyond the moment, often haunting survivors for the rest of their lives, making it difficult to trust and impacting their relationships,” said Raisman.
Raisman began seeing Nassar when she was 15 years old. He would continue to be her doctor while she competed for the USA Olympic Gymnast team. She competed in both the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“We are here,” said Raisman. “We have our voices, and we are not going anywhere.”
In July 2017, Nassar plead guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced the following December to 60 years in prison.
The USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and MSU are all being accused of ignoring the victim’s initial allegations and not conducting an investigation when the allegations first began. The entire member board of the USA Gymnastics, MSU’s President Lou Anna Simon, and MSU’s Director of Athletics Mark Hollis have resigned.
“My parents trusted USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar to take care of me and we were betrayed by both,” said Wieber. “And now the lack of accountability from USA Gymnastics, USOC, and Michigan State have caused me and many other girls to remain shameful, confused, and disappointed.”
Weiber, a Michigan native, was eight years old the when she began to see Nassar. He had convinced her that the abuse was simply “treatment”.
“My teammates and friends have been through enough, and now it’s time for change because the current and future gymnasts do not deserve to live in anxiety, fear or be unprotected like I was,” said Weiber.
Nassar will serve all of his sentences, likely living the rest of his life in prison.
“Leave your pain here,” said Aquilina. “Go out and do your magnificent things.”