Larry Nassar’s week-long sentencing hearing came to a close on Wednesday when Judge Rosemarie Aquilina handed down a sentence of 40 to 175 years for his guilty plea to seven counts of sexual assault. The sentence will be served consecutively with his previously adjudicated 60-year sentence in federal court on child pornography charges. At 54 years old, Nassar will likely die in prison.
For decades, Nassar, a formerly renowned doctor with Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, sexually abused young girls and women under the guise of medical treatment, predominantly by penetrating them digitally with ungloved hands and without warning.
When the sentencing hearing first began last Tuesday, 88 of Nassar’s victims were scheduled to testify about the abuse they’d suffered at the hands of Nassar — abuse that was enabled by the institutions that employed him. But each day of the hearing, the number of victims who wanted to confront Nassar grew. Overall, 156 of Nassar’s victims delivered impact statements in the Lansing, Michigan courtroom.
Nassar delivered short remarks before his sentencing, and offered a meek apology to his victims. But Judge Aquilina was having none of it, reading previously unheard excerpts from a letter Nassar delivered to the court last week in which he claimed having to hear from his victims was causing undue mental anguish.
In those excerpts, Nassar — who pleaded guilty to sexual assault — was completely unapologetic, insisting once again that decades of sexual assaults were fabricated and that his guilty plea was only entered because he lost credibility following his conviction for possession of child pornography.
“What I did in the state cases was medical, not sexual. But because of the porn, I lost all support thus another reason for the state guilty plea,” read Aqulinia from Nassar’s letter.
Nassar also blamed the press for convincing his patients they were victimized, and suggested his arrest and sentencing were an act of vengeance.
“The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad,” wrote Nassar. “They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
Though Nassar perpetrated sexual abuse that resulted in a huge number of victims — Nassar was accused by three times more victims than former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, for instance — his sentencing hearing went largely ignored on major cable networks over the past week.
Nassar’s sentencing ends one chapter of this saga, but there are many unanswered questions still remaining. Chief among them: who knew about Nassar’s abuse, and why did they do nothing for so long?
More than 140 victims have already filed several civil suits against Michigan State University. Those cases entered arbitration last year, but both sides were unable to reach a settlement. Earlier this month, MSU filed a motion to dismiss all nine civil suits, claiming the university is immune from liability.
This is a breaking news story and has been updated as more information emerged.