LANSING, Mich. (Reuters) – Disgraced long-time USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced on Wednesday to up to 175 years in prison for molesting young female gymnasts, following days of wrenching testimony from about 160 of his victims, including Olympic medalists.
“I’ve just signed your death warrant,” Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar in imposing the penalty, after delivering a searing rebuke of his years of abuse.
Some victims dabbed their eyes after Aquilina spoke, while Rachael Denhollander, the first victim to come forward publicly in 2016, smiled.
Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty in November to seven counts of first-degree sex assault in Ingham County, as well as three additional charges in Eaton County, where he will be sentenced next week. He is already serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for child pornography convictions.
Before the sentence was announced, Nassar apologized to his victims, telling them, “I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
But Aquilina dismissed his statement as insincere, reading aloud from a letter Nassar wrote to her in which he claimed he was a good doctor who was “manipulated” into pleading guilty, drawing gasps from courtroom spectators. Nassar also claimed his accusers fabricated claims to gain money and fame and wrote, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
“This letter tells me you still do not own what you did,” Aquilina said, after angrily tossing the sheet of paper aside. “I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir.”
The sentencing followed an extraordinary weeklong hearing that saw a parade of Nassar victims tell their stories in raw and unflinching terms, describing how he used medical treatments and their own trust to justify penetrating their bodies with his fingers.
Reporting by Steve Friess in Lansing and Keith Coffman in Denver; Writing by Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Bill Trott