Larry Nassar sentenced to additional 40 to 125 years for decades of sexual abuse
EATON COUNTY, Mich. — Larry Nassar was sentenced to another 40 to 125 years in prison on Monday after pleading guilty to three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County, Michigan.
“I am not convinced that you truly understand that what you did was wrong and the devastating impact that you’ve had on the victims, family and friends,” Judge Janice Cunningham said in delivering the sentence.
The sentence in Eaton County court is the third sentence in three months for Nassar, the once-renowned doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University who sexually abused young girls for more than two decades.
How we got here (Warning: story contains graphic details)
As recently as a few years ago, Nassar was widely respected in the gymnastics community and beyond for his treatment of injured athletes. For years, he claimed that his invasive “pelvic floor” treatment, in which he put his fingers into young girls’ vaginas, was a cure-all that could fix any number of physical injuries.
A number of his victims said they felt violated during the procedure and complained to coaches, trainers or even police. But he was a respected doctor who treated the world’s best gymnasts. Their concerns were brushed aside or otherwise dismissed, and Nassar continued to abuse his patients.
In 2014, for example, Amanda Thomashow told Michigan State Title IX investigators and MSU Police that his treatment was really sexual assault. Nassar, who told police he was known as “the body whisperer” for his close relationship with patients, said Thomashow simply didn’t understand the procedure. The investigation ultimately cleared him of misconduct, and Nassar returned to abusing patients.
“I think that the way that my investigation was handled was not in a way to bring out the truth, but instead it was performed in a way to conceal and protect a pedophile,” Thomashow said.
Separately, USA Gymnastics said it became aware of Nassar’s sexual abuse in the summer of 2015 when three top gymnasts said he abused them. After several weeks of its own investigation, the organization reported the allegations to the FBI in late July. Nassar was no longer allowed to treat patients at USA Gymnastics, but he continued to abuse young girls at Michigan State amid a slow FBI investigation.
That abuse went on until September 2016, when The Indianapolis Star published allegations against Nassar from Rachael Denhollander and an unnamed Olympic gymnast. After that first story, more than 50 women reported similar instances of sexual abuse, and Nassar was arrested in November 2016.
The 54-year-old’s life since then has been a series of guilty pleas, court hearings and prison sentences.
Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges and was sentenced to 60 years in prison in December. He pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County in Michigan and was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison two weeks ago. And he pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sexual conduct in nearby Eaton County as well.
“I’ve just signed your death warrant,” Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said as she delivered the sentence.