CHARLOTTE, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — The former sports doctor whose serial sexual abuse of girls and young women upended the gymnastics world was sentenced Monday to a third prison term of 40 to 125 years behind bars for molesting young athletes at an elite Michigan training center.
Larry Nassar listened to dozens of victims for two days last week and was almost attacked by a man whose three daughters said they were abused. He pleaded guilty to penetrating young athletes with ungloved hands when they sought treatment for injuries at Twistars, a gymnastics club that was run by a 2012 U.S. Olympic coach.
Nassar’s conduct “has robbed these girls and women of one of the most truly important human qualities: trust,” Judge Janice Cunningham said.
The sentence is largely symbolic because the 54-year-old is already assured of spending the rest of his life in prison. Before serving either of his two state sentences, he must first serve 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.
In addition to the sentence delivered Monday in Eaton County, Nassar was also sentenced last month to 40 to 175 years for similar conduct in another county. Those sentences would be served at the same time.
In a brief statement before he was sentenced, Nassar attempted to apologize to his victims.
“It’s impossible to convey the breadth and depth of how sorry I am to each and every one,” he said.
>>App users: Listen to Nassar’s statement here.
Nassar worked for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body, which also trains Olympians.
More than 260 women and girls say they were victims, some going back to the 1990s. The judge said the abuse “spans the country and the world.”
On Friday, Randy Margraves was tackled by sheriff’s deputies before he could pummel Nassar in court. He said he wanted just a minute in a locked room with the “demon.”
“This cannot be a lawless society. I know that,” Margraves told reporters during a public apology. “I lost control, but I gained control later in a holding cell.”
Most victims who wanted to speak publicly or submit a statement did so earlier during Nassar’s seven-day court hearing in Ingham County, including 2012 Olympic teammates Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney.
The scandal has rocked Michigan State, which has been accused of repeatedly missing opportunities to stop Nassar, who had a campus office and was a revered figure in sports medicine.
After Nassar’s sentencing Monday, Kalamazoo native Rachael Denhollander, who was the first to pursue criminal charges against the disgraced doctor, said her focus is now on holding MSU and others accountable for this “institutional” issue of sexual assault.
Lou Anna Simon resigned as Michigan State’s president on Jan. 24 and athletic director Mark Hollis followed two days later.
The university’s largest alumni club, the West Michigan Spartans, announced Monday it was canceling the Spartan Winter Tailgate slated for Feb. 15, in light of the Nassar scandal.
“Given the important focus on the survivors and healing at MSU, we have concluded after much consideration that it would not be appropriate to have a celebratory event this year. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the survivors and their families,” the news release stated.
The longtime leader of USA Gymnastics, Steve Penny, quit last March, and all board members recently stepped down at the demand of the U.S. Olympic Committee. A law firm has been hired to investigate how the USOC responded to its knowledge of allegations against Nassar.