Follow Us On
Nassar Could Face Up to 125 Years in Prison
(4 votes, average 4.75 out of 5)

The Michigan Attorney General has recommended a county judge sentence Larry Nassar to 40 to 125 years in prison next week, in the first of two sentences to come for the former USA Gymnastics doctor who is behind the worst known case of sexual abuse in sports history.

The Michigan Attorney General has recommended a judge sentence Larry Nassar to 40 to 125 years in prison next week, in the first of two sentences to come for the former USA Gymnastics doctor who is behind the worst known case of sexual abuse in sports history.

Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty in November to 10 counts of sexual assault in Ingham County and Eaton County, Michigan, as part of a plea deal organized by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. On Wednesday, the Michigan Attorney General's office filed a memorandum with its sentencing recommendation to the judge in Ingham County, recommending Nassar serve 40 to 125 years in prison.

Nassar will be sentenced on only 10 counts of assault that occurred in Ingham and Eaton counties represent only a small fraction of the number of assaults he has been accused of. Nassar reportedly told local police that he performed vaginal or anal penetration "thousands of times" while claiming it was a legitimate procedure. More than 130 women have filed civil lawsuits against him, USA Gymnastics, and his former full-time employer, Michigan State University. According to the Michigan Attorney General's office, 88 women are expected to provide victim impact statements over the four-day sentencing hearing, which Nassar agreed to as part of the plea agreement.

Nassar has never been arrested or charged with any crimes related to his sexual assaults on members of the U.S. national gymnastics team, including Olympians Jamie Dantzscher, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney or Aly Raisman, and world championship team members Jeanette Antolin, Jessica Howard or Maggie Nichols. All seven women have come forward in the 16 months to confirm being assaulted by Nassar, which occurred at the U.S. national training center known as the Karolyi ranch in Texas, as well as competitions all over the country and world.

Nassar, who began working with USA Gymnastics (then the United States Gymnastics Federation) in 1986, was made the national team doctor in 1996. In 2014, he announced he would be resigning after the 2016 Olympic Games. He was quietly let go from USA Gymnastics in 2015 after Nichols' coach, Sarah Jantzi, overheard Nichols, Raisman and another gymnast at the Karolyi ranch discussing the "treatment" they received from Nassar. Despite statements from Jantzi, Nichols and Raisman to USA Gymnastics, he was not reported to the FBI for five weeks after USAG was first informed. In September 2015, Nassar publicly announced he was retiring from his position at USA Gymnastics to run for a position on the school board.

Nassar continued to practice and assault other women for more than a year after USA Gymnastics was informed, all the while the FBI failed to take any action against him. (The FBI has refused to comment on why it apparently did not seriously pursue the case.) Nichols, Raisman and their families have accused USA Gymnastics of pressuring them to keep quiet about the abuse during this time. Maroney, who is also suing USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University and the U.S. Olympic Committee, and her attorney have accused USA Gymnastics of forcing her to sign an illegal confidentiality agreement in order to receive a $1.25 million settlement in December 2016.

Despite repeated complaints that date to 1997 and its own internal investigation in 2014, Michigan State University took no action against Nassar, who worked as an associate professor and team doctor for the athletic department. During the 2014 investigation, Nassar was allowed to keep practicing, and he was eventually cleared by the university, which chose to believe his account and not that of his victim.

Rachael Denhollander, who was abused by Nassar as a 15-year-old club gymnast in 2000, spent more than 10 years independently pursuing her case after realizing she had been assaulted as a teen. When The Indianapolis Star published its "Out of Balance" series into USA Gymnastics' handling of sex abuse reports in the sport in August 2016, Denhollander went public with her story. Her account was published by The Indianapolis Star on September 12, the same date that Dantzscher's civil lawsuit in California against Nassar and USA Gymnastics was reported by the paper. Dozens of women then came forward, leading to Nassar's firing from MSU and subsequent arrest for assault.

In July, Nassar pleaded guilty to three counts related to child pornography found on his property during a police search on September 20, 2016. He was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on those charges in December, a sentence he has appealed. He is unlikely to ever serve time in federal prison, given the lengthy sentence expected in Michigan, where he must serve his time first.

Despite the shocking details of Nassar's abuse, the large number of victims and the years his victims' complaints went ignored, the case has so far failed to match the scandal of Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky. The national media attention, public outrage, official investigations and criminal charges in the Nassar case pale in comparison to that of Sandusky, an assistant coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions, who was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse of boys from 1994 to 2009, and whose abuse was covered up for years by associates. Penn State paid more than $140 million to his victims and was fined $60 million by the NCAA and $10 million by the Big Ten Conference.

Schuette has stated he is considering opening an investigation into Michigan State University, which like USA Gymnastics continues to deny it ever covered up Nassar's abuse. So far there have been no announcements of investigations in Indiana, where USA Gymnastics has its headquarters, or in Texas, where Nassar spent more than 15 years treating gymnasts at the U.S. national training center in Houston, despite never being licensed to practice medicine in the state.

Comments (0)add comment

Write comment

security image
Write the displayed characters


IG Online Related Articles