Saturday 7 December 2019

Disgraced US sports doctor to spend rest of his life in jail over abuse

Larry Nassar molested dozens of girls and young women, some of whom became Olympic gymnasts, in cases stretching as far back as the 1990s.

Larry Nassar has received another minimum 40-year sentence (AP)
Larry Nassar has received another minimum 40-year sentence (AP)

By David Eggert

A former sports doctor has been sentenced to a third prison term of 40 to 125 years behind bars for molesting young athletes at an elite Michigan training centre.

Larry Nassar received his final sentence after listening to dozens of victims for two days during hearings last week, and was almost attacked by a man whose three daughters said they were abused.

He pleaded guilty to abusing women and young girls when they sought treatment for injuries at Twistars, a gymnastics club that was run by a 2012 US Olympic coach.

There were emotional scenes in court as Nassar faced justice again (AP)

Judge Janice Cunningham said the 54-year-old’s conduct “has robbed these girls and women of one of the most truly important human qualities: trust”.

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 on Monday in Eaton County, Nassar was also sentenced last month to 40 to 175 years for similar conduct in another county. Those sentences will be served concurrently.

In a brief statement before he was sentenced, Nassar attempted to apologise to his victims. “It’s impossible to convey the breadth and depth of how sorry I am to each and every one,” he said.

The former doctor was found guilty of abusing dozens of young women and girls (AP)

Nassar worked for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body, which also trains Olympians.

More than 260 women and girls said they were Nassar’s victims, with some crimes dating back to the 1990s. The judge said the abuse “spans the country and the world”.

On Friday, father-of-three Randy Margraves was tackled by sheriff’s deputies before he could attack Nassar in court. He had said he wanted just a minute in a locked room with the “demon”.

“This cannot be a lawless society. I know that,” Mr Margraves told reporters during a public apology. “I lost control, but I gained control later in a holding cell.”

Susan Thomashaw hugs lead prosecutor Angela Povilaitis (AP)

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 University, which has been accused of repeatedly missing opportunities to stop Nassar, who had a campus office and was a revered figure in sports medicine.

Lou Anna Simon resigned as Michigan State’s president on January 24, and athletics director Mark Hollis followed two days later.

The long-serving leader of USA Gymnastics, Steve Penny, quit last March, and all board members recently stepped down at the demand of the US Olympic Committee. A law firm has been hired to investigate how the USOC responded to its knowledge of allegations against Nassar.

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News