Wednesday 23 January 2019

Disgraced Nassar 'abused 265 young women'

Larry Nassar is a former USA Gymnastics team doctor. Photo: Brendan McDermid
Larry Nassar is a former USA Gymnastics team doctor. Photo: Brendan McDermid

Andrew Buncombe

More than 265 people have come forward to say they were sexually abused by the disgraced former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, a judge said yesterday.

As Nassar's third sentencing hearing got under way in Eaton County, Michigan, Judge Janice Cunningham said dozens of women and girls were expected to deliver statements in court.

During a seven-day hearing that concluded last week in nearby Ingham County, more than 150 young women delivered powerful statements confronting Nassar and telling him of the devastating impact he had on their lives.

As of yesterday, 65 women were expected to speak at the subsequent hearing in Eaton County, but officials said the number could grow if more people decided they wanted to come forward.

One of the first to confront Nassar was 17-year-old former gymnast Jessica Thomashow, who told the court he took advantage of her "innocence and trust" and that he molested her when she was nine and 12 years old.

She told Nassar that what he had done to her was "twisted" and she could not understand why he had done so.

The Associated Press said another woman, Annie Labrie, testified Nassar did things to her that "made my skin crawl" but said adults had assured her that he was the only option as a doctor. As the hearing continued, it was reported that the entire board of directors of USA Gymnastics (USAG), which Nassar served as a team doctor for 20 years, had stood down after being told they would otherwise be fired.

Last week, Nassar was sentenced to between 40 to 175 years in prison when he appeared before Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.

Under a deal reached with the 54-year-old last year, the former doctor pleaded guilty to 10 sexual assault charges divided between two Michigan countries - seven in Ingham County and three in Eaton County. Both plea deals included agreements that his minimum sentence would be between 25 and 40 years. The three charges in Eaton County relate to incidents involving two girls aged between 13 and 15 and one aged younger than 13.

The abuse occurred between September 2009 and September 2011 at the Gedderts' Twistars Gymnastics Club.

Separately, a federal judge in December sentenced Nasser to 60 years in prison for three child pornography charges.

USA Gymnastics said last week after Olympic officials threatened to decertify the organisation as the sport's US governing body that its entire board had resigned and sponsors have already backed away ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games. (© London Independent Service)

Irish Independent

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

Editors Choice

Also in World News