Wednesday 18 September 2019

Victims’ father tries to attack disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar in court

Randall Margraves was restrained by bailiffs after launching the attack, moments after he asked the judge for ‘five minutes alone’ with the sex offender.

Randall Margraves, father of three victims of Larry Nassar , left, lunges at the sex offender (AP)
Randall Margraves, father of three victims of Larry Nassar , left, lunges at the sex offender (AP)

By David Eggert

A father of three of Larry Nassar’s victims has tried to attack the disgraced former sports doctor during a sentencing hearing.

Randall Margraves was quickly tackled by bailiffs as he lunged at Nassar in the courtroom in Michigan, after the judge declined his request for “five minutes” alone with the sex offender in a locked room.

He later returned to court to apologise to the judge who said he would not be punished for his actions.

Two of the man’s daughters had just addressed the court, saying they and another sister had been sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment. Their father, Randall Margraves, then told the judge he was a “distraught father”.

He looked at Nassar, shook his head and swore at him while speaking at the courtroom podium. The judge cautioned Mr Margraves against using profanity.

Mr Margraves wanted

Mr Margraves then asked for “five minutes” alone with Nassar. When the judge said she could not allow that, Mr Margraves asked for one minute. The judge again declined.

The father then lunged at Nassar, who was sitting nearby.

Crying could be heard in the courtroom as Nassar was escorted out. Assistant attorney general Angela Povilaitis told families in the courtroom to “use your words”, not violence.

This is Nassar's final sentencing hearing (AP)

“This is letting him have this power over us,” she said.

“We cannot behave like this. I understand this is a remarkable situation. But you cannot do this. This is not helping your children. This is not helping your community. This is not helping us.”

The incident occurred during the third and final sentencing hearing for Nassar on sexual abuse charges. The charges in this case focus on his work with Twistars, an elite Michigan gymnastics club. The hearing resumed after about 25 minutes.

Mr Margraves returned a few hours later to apologise to Judge Janice Cunningham, who said there was “no way” she would punish him under her contempt of court powers. She noted the anguish felt by families over Nassar’s crimes.

Lauren and Madison Margraves had addressed the court just before their father (AP)

More than 30 victims have given statements so far. During a similar hearing which ended last week, more than 150 girls and women came forward to say Nassar had abused them under the guise of medical treatment.

More victims are expected to speak. The proceedings are likely to extend into next week.

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