Former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar received a sentence of 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting young girls under the guise of treatment, NBC News reports. The sentence came following a seven-day hearing that featured devastating, emotional statements from 156 of his accusers -- as well as an apology that the judge said rang hollow.
"It was not treatment what you did. It was not medical. You do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said in the Michigan courtroom. "I signed your death warrant."
Among her many powerful responses throughout the hearing, Judge Aquilina said, "Our Constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment. If it did, I have to say, I might allow what he did to all of these beautiful souls—these young women in their childhood—I would allow someone or many people to do to him what he did to others." She also noted that "justice requires more than what I can do on this bench," calling on federal authorities to look into how also called on federal authorities to investigate how Nassar's abuse was allowed to go on for so long.
And in her closing argument, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis called Nassar a “master manipulator.” She told the court, “The breadth and ripple of this defendant’s abuse and destruction is nearly infinite. The defendant is a twisted, beloved, renowned doctor who used his prestige to gain trust of these girls and exploit them.”
Nassar, who plead guilty on November 22, turned to face survivors and addressed them with a statement that read, "Your words these past several days have had a significant emotional effect on myself and has shaken me to my core. I also recognize what I’m feeling pales in comparison to the pain, trauma and emotional destruction you are all feeling.”
Nassar has been serving a 60-year sentence onchild pornography charges and still faces sentencing for three additional criminal sexual conduct crimes in Michigan.
Among the doctor's accusers are high-profile Olympic gymnasts such as Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles, and Jordyn Wieber. Court documents noted that Nassar gained the trust of girls and their families, which then gave him cover for exams that allowed him to fondle and digitally penetrate the girls as team doctor for USA Gymnastics and various Michigan State University sports teams.
In her victim impact statement, Raisman said, “Larry, you do realize now that we ― this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time ― are now a force and you are nothing. The tables have turned, Larry. We are here and we are not going anywhere.”
Following Raisman's gut-wrenching statement, Judge Aquilina said, "I’m sorry it took this long, but I assure you that all of the words that you and your sister-survivors have said and will say are being considered for sentencing.”
Meanawhile, 18-year-old Kaylee Lorincz, who said she was 13 when she was abused by Nassar, said she didn't need an apology, but instead aimed for accountability from the institutions that employeed him. "I only hope that when you get a chance to speak, you tell us who knew what and when they knew it," she said. "If you truly want us to heal, you will do this for us."
A day prior, Brooke Hylek said, "Enjoy hell." This sentence will be that, but going forward, let's hope Nassar's fate only opens the floodgates for further investigation and conversation that preempts abuse like this from happening again.