Several National news organizations around the world carried the trial and sentencing of the embattled Larry Nassar which ended with a devastating blow on January 24, 2018.
Nassar was once a world-renowned sports physician treating America’s Olympic women gymnasts; he was also a Michigan State University doctor. He is said to have sexually abused at least 156 persons who had at some point, been under his care.
He was in fact found guilty of sexually abusing the victims over a span of 2 decades and accordingly sentenced to 175 years in prison. The trial judge, Rosemarie Aquilina (of Lansing, Michigan) unapologetically stayed “I’ve just signed your death warrant,” “I find that you don’t get it, that you’re a danger. That you remain a danger.”
He was previously sentenced to 60 years in prison for federal child pornography charges. He also has pleaded guilty to 3 charges of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County in Michigan and is due to be sentenced on those charges on January 31.
Nassar pled guilty to 7 counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County in Michigan and admitted to using his trusted medical position to assault and molest girls under the guise of medical treatment.
He did offer a brief statement in court during which he apologized, underscoring that after hearing 7 days of victim impact statements, he was shaken to his core. He went on to say that “there are no words that can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred. “An acceptable apology to all of you is impossible to write and convey. I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
A total of 156 victims spoke, recounting similar stories of how they went to Nassar to receive treatment for sports injuries only to be sexually assaulted and told it was a form of treatment, all of which the trial judge took into account at sentencing.
Many of the women said that when they spoke up about the treatment, they were ignored or their concerns brushed aside by organizations in power, primarily USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University and the US Olympic Committee. There has already been some fallout out where these organizations are concerns and much more is expected.
During the trial there are a few women that stood out as having banded together to fight for themselves because in their realization no one else did. A lot of praise was given to news media who broke the story.
Sterling Riethman, Larissa Boyce and Kaylee Lorincz were a few of the women who spoke in court about Nassar’s abuse.
The women are believed to have all met Nassar for a sports-related injury and indicated that, because of the abuse, they struggled with anxiety, depression and instances of self-harm. Others said they no longer trust doctors or that they shrink from any physical touch.
“Sexual abuse is so much more than a disturbing physical act,” Kyle Stephens, the first victim to speak, said last week. “It changes the trajectory of a victim’s life, and that is something that nobody has the right to do.”
Nassar is going away for the remainder of his natural life; what has happened here is nothing short of appropriate. He deserves it but we shouldn’t for a second believe that this will heal the victims wounds. Justice has been served for sure and that is positive; healing on the other hand, especially after this retraumaticization (having to recount the abuse) will take years of therapy, love and support from their respective communities. This event has the Me-Too movement signature written all over it; victims of sexual abuse are increasingly banding together, supporting each other and taking their power back by confronting their abusers. This safety net embedded in a patriarchal society is no longer enough to insulate Sex Predators; time is up.