After a remarkable hearing that featured gut-wrenching statements from 156 of his accusers and an apology that the judge said rang hollow, former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting young girls under the guise of treatment.
“You do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said in the Ingham County, Michigan, courtroom where Nassar was forced to listen to victims for seven days before learning his fate.
“I signed your death warrant,” she added.
If Nassar thought the statement would earn him sympathy, it failed.
The judge took out a six-page letter he sent the court last week in which he insisted what he had done to the victims “was medical not sexual,” that he was a “good doctor” and the victim of a media frenzy, and that prosecutors had pressured him to to admit to things he had not done.
He complained that his patients had turned on him. “‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,'” the judge read aloud, her voice full of scorn.
To follow up on Paul’s post yesterday, definitely read Katie Strang on how badly MSU botched the “Nassar thing” at every stage:
A president’s cold response to a sexual-abuse survivor’s personal plea. A parent still being billed for an appointment during which her teenage daughter was sexually assaulted. An internal email circulated, touting an admitted pedophile’s academic achievements and awards. An investigator dispatched by the university, so vigorous and indiscreet in questioning a victim’s teammates, she felt forced to come out publicly.
When it comes to all of the ways Michigan State University has botched these past couple of weeks, it is hard to even know where to begin.
On Wednesday, lawyers on behalf of the many plaintiffs pursuing civil litigation against the university will be meeting in a Grand Rapids court for a Rule 16 conference, a procedural meeting that could be impactful in determining whether the university will be open to discovery, in addition to other scheduling matters.
Among the issues the plaintiffs’ lawyers hope are thrust into the forefront from a potential discovery process? The tandem of reports the university produced as a result of the Title IX investigation in 2014, one of which was circulated internally, one of which was given to the complainant, Amanda Thomashow. They are not identical, however. Documents reviewed by The Athletic stated the report provided to Thomashow omitted “the substantive text” from the conclusion section.
The existence of two separate reports could be problematic in the case of the Title IX investigation, considering the baseline legal standard is to ensure students enjoy a prompt and equitable resolution of complaints. One lawyer with Title IX expertise who was asked to review the documents said the existence of separate reports with differing information could certainly challenge the idea of “equitable.”
Regardless of what is unearthed in the weeks and months ahead, it’s hard to imagine any scenario in which MSU does not enter into sweeping settlements to resolve the various complaints of its inaction, indifference and negligence that helped enable one of the most prolific pedophiles to date.
Every day MSU’s president and board remain in place is an ongoing slap in the face to the genuinely courageous victims.
UPDATE: The USOC is calling for the entire board of the other major organization than enabled Nassar — USA Gymnastics — to resign.