24 Hour News 8 web staff -
LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) -- A former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor accused of molesting seven girls spoke for the first time in court Wednesday as he pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Dr. Larry Nassar, 54, was charged with molesting the girls under the guise of treatment at his home and a campus clinic. All but one was a gymnast.
Some of his accusers were inside the courtroom as he entered his plea Wednesday morning and spoke.
"I'm so horribly sorry that this got out of control. I pray every day for forgiveness. I want this community to heal. I just want healing. It's time," Nassar said.
While the plea deal in this case calls for a minimum prison sentence of 25 years, the judge could go higher and set the minimum at 40 years.
Shortly after Nassar's plea, Michigan State University spokesperson Jason Cody released the following statement:
"The plea deal and conviction of Larry Nassar on Nov. 22 on state criminal sexual conduct charges in Ingham County represents another important step toward justice for the victims. As President Simon has said, we recognize the pain sexual violence causes and deeply regret any time someone in our community experiences it. It takes tremendous courage for victims of sexual violence to come forward.
"We are grateful for the efforts of the entire MSU Police Department, specifically the detectives in the Special Victim's Unit, who worked diligently and tirelessly since August 2016 on building the criminal case that led to Nassar's conviction. We also greatly appreciate the efforts put forth by the Michigan Attorney General's office as they prosecuted the case. This cooperation was vital to the conviction."
Nassar is still awaiting sentencing on child pornography charges. He is also being sued by more than 125 women and girls.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says all 125 of his accusers will be invited to speak at Nassar's sentencing, which is scheduled for January.-- The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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