International Desk: Larry Nassar, the former Olympic gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor accused of molesting 265 girls and women over two decades, was sentenced to another 40 to 125 years in prison on Monday for molesting three of the victims under the guise of medical treatment.
Eaton County Court Judge Janice Cunningham said she didn’t believe Nassar — who as recently as last month was claiming his invasive pelvic procedures were not sexual — was truly remorseful.
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Larry Nassar sentenced to another 40-125 years in prison 1:33
“I’m not convinced that you truly understand that what you did was wrong and the devastating impact you have had on the victims, their families and friends,” the judge said. “You are in denial. You don’t get it.”
Barring appeals, the proceeding in Michigan’s Eaton County Court marks the end of the criminal cases against Nassar and caps an extraordinary outpouring from more than 200 former patients who gave impact statements during nine days of emotional hearings.
“The words expressed by everyone…have impacted me to my innermost core,” Nassar said, looking gaunt in an orange jail jumpsuit. “The visions of your testimonies will forever be present in my thoughts.”
Although Nassar’s fate is sealed, the fallout is far from over. The U.S. Olympics Committee, USA Gymnastics, MSU and even the FBI face lingering questions about whether they could have done more to stop Nassar, and several investigations are under way.
Victims say they reported Nassar as far back as 1997 and were dismissed, and prosecutors say that should be a wake-up call for everyone.
“We must start by believing victims,” Assistant Attorney General Angie Povilaitis said in stirring remarks before the sentence was handed down. “We must stop blaming victims, stop blaming parents.”
“The shame and the blame belong on one person: the defendant,” she added.
Image: Nassar victims testify
More than 150 gave impact statements at a marathon sentencing hearing for Dr. Larry Nassar. Top row, from left, Mattie Larson, Emma Ann Miller, Megan Ginter, middle row, Jordyn Wieber, Olivia Cowan, Kyle Stephens, bottom row, Jessica Smith, Taylor Cole, Aly Raisman. Reuters; Getty Images
The sentence Nassar got was a foregone conclusion; Cunningham said at the outset that she planned on following the plea agreement that Nassar made last year.
And it didn’t change the fact that he is all but certain to die in prison: He was previously sentenced to 40 to 175 years in Ingham County for molesting seven girls and to 60 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.
The charges in Eaton County stem from sexual abuse that occurred at Twistars gym, where Nassar was a fixture for years, preying on budding gymnasts with his reputation as a healer who could get any injured athlete competition-ready.
“This nice-guy doctor thrived at a place like Twistars, where cruel, harsh and abusive coaches were the norm,” Povilaitis said.
“This grown adult man took sexual pleasure in the exploitation and humiliation of those young girls and teenagers,” she said. “Not only did he commit those depraved acts of penetration but he liked it.”
“Did he really think he was going to get away with it, abusing so many over so many years?” she added. “Maybe he did think he could beat the odds — and for years he did.
“He was believed over these children.”