Follow Us On
Former Doctor Larry Nassar Pleads Guilty, Admits Assault
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)



Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to sexual assault in a Michigan courtroom Wednesday, admitting for the first time that he had sexually abused underage girls.

Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to sexual assault in a Michigan courtroom Wednesday, admitting for the first time that he had sexually abused underage girls.

Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for sexually assaulting girls and one adult in Michigan. Three of the charges applied to victims under the age of 13 years old and three applied to girls aged 13 to 15. As part of a plea agreement, other state charges were dismissed or reduced.

In February, Nassar appeared in court, clutching a Bible, and entered a not guilty plea to sexual assault charges. Nassar, 53, spoke in court Wednesday as for the first time he acknowledged sexually abusing girls, which often occurred as part of what he claimed was a valid medical procedure. His lawyers had previously defended his use of "intravaginal" massage to treat back, hip and pelvic pain. More than 140 victims have joined a lawsuit against him and USA Gymnastics.

"For all those involved, I'm so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control," Nassar said Wednesday. "I have no animosity toward anyone. I just want healing. ... We need to move forward in a sense of growth and healing and I pray [for] that."

The judge slammed Nassar's horrific abuse of the young athletes who trusted him and praised the bravery of the gymnasts who have come forward, calling them "superheroes."

"You used that position of trust that you had in the most vile way to abuse children," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar. "I agree that now is a time of healing, but it may take them a lifetime of healing while you spend your lifetime behind bars thinking about what you did in taking away their childhood. You violated the oath that you took, which is to do no harm, and you harmed them selfishly. ... They are superheroes for all of America because this is an epidemic."

In July, Nassar pleaded guilty in federal court to three charges of possession of child pornography, with each count carrying up to 20 years in federal prison.

For decades, Nassar was a highly respected figure in gymnastics, working with USA Gymnastics, private clubs and with athletes at Michigan State University. He also volunteered with children and ran programs for children with autism.

Nassar quietly left USA Gymnastics in 2015, stating he was planning to run for the local school board. It has been reported that he was fired, but others with knowledge of the investigation have told IG he was allowed to formally submit a resignation. The first allegations of impropriety against Nassar were made public in September 2016 when former gymnast Rachael Denhollander shared her story with the Indianapolis Star. At the same time, a lawsuit filed in California by 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher against Nassar and USA Gymnastics was released, further stunning the gymnastics community. More than 150 women later came forward to make the same allegations against Nassar.

USA Gymnastics had already faced severe backlash after an extensive series of reports by the Indianapolis Star, which in the summer of 2016 revealed the organization frequently failed to act on reports of sexual abuse by coaches, routinely dismissing complaints against dozens of coaches and not reporting the abuse to authorities. In March, USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny resigned under pressure from the U.S. Olympic Committee, reportedly receiving a seven-figure "golden parachute" as his contract was paid out.

USA Gymnastics faced massive backlash after it was revealed the organization did not immediately report accusations against Nassar, but waited several weeks to contact the FBI.

In addition to Dantszcher, 1999 world team member Jeanette Antolin and former rhythmic national champion Jessica Howard spoke publicly about the abuse, which Nassar disguised as treatment.

In the past month, 2012 Olympians McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman and Gabriella Douglas came forward to acknowledge being abused by Nassar. Raisman, who shared her story with 60 Minutes, said she was unaware that Nassar had done anything wrong until 2015, when she was interviewed by the FBI. Raisman and others have said they now recognize that Nassar was grooming them in order to violate them, a tactic frequently used by sexual predators, and exploiting their Olympic dreams.

In total, 125 athletes formally reported assaults to the Michigan State Police. If they choose, they will be allowed to speak at Nassar's sentencing in January.

Watch: Kamerin Moore's account of being abused by Nassar

Watch: Aly Raisman calls Nassar a 'Master Manipulator'

Watch: Jamie Dantzscher, Jessica Howard and Jeanette Antolin – the first to come forward

Comments (0)add comment

Write comment

security image
Write the displayed characters


busy