Dad who lunged at Larry Nassar to donate funds to groups that help sexual assault survivors
EATON COUNTY , Mich. — The father of three of Larry Nassar’s victims who tried to tackle the former USA Gymnastics doctor last week in court says he will donate more than $30,000 from an online fundraiser created in his name to Michigan groups that help survivors of sexual assault.
An online fundraiser popped up this week to help Randall Margraves with any possible legal expenses after the father of the three daughters abused by Nassar rushed at the disgraced physician during his sentencing for sexual abuse Friday in Eaton County, Michigan.
The fundraiser brought in more than $31,000 in six days, according to a GoFundMe page.
But Margraves said in a statement Thursday he did not need the money and will instead donate the funds to “local charities like Small Talk, RAVE and the Firecracker Foundation.”
All three charities assist survivors of sexual assault; Firecracker Foundation and Small Talk focus specifically on helping children. Anyone who donated to the campaign who does not want their money to go to the charities has until March 9 to request a refund, according to Margraves’ statement.
Margraves’ attorney initially called for any fundraising to cease and told CNN that the family hadn’t endorsed any GoFundMe pages. However, according to Thursday’s statement, many of the donations to GoFundMe came from members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW, a union of Margraves is a member.
“At the time of the incident, I didn’t know that the great brotherhood had done this, and I was overcome with gratitude when I found out,” Margraves said in the statement.
“I appreciate everyone stepping up to support me, but help is not needed for me. After giving people the chance to get a refund, the donations will go to organizations that help the sisterhood of survivors and other victims of abuse.”
The organizations that Margraves named expressed thanks in statements to CNN.
“I just wanted to share our appreciation especially in the face of so much tragedy,” said Tashmica Torok, founder and executive director of the Firecracker Foundation. Torok said funds would go to help survivors of childhood sexual trauma gain access to holistic healing services in Lansing, Michigan.
“(The donation) allows us to continue to do the great work that we do here and provide essential services to children who are survivors of very unfortunate circumstances,” said Alex Brace, executive director of Small Talk Children’s Assessment Center.
Amanda Troyer, development director at RAVE, said, “Local and national awareness is key to not only helping victims reach out for assistance and support, but also enabling organizations like ours to provide the compassionate people and resources required for their recovery.
“It is with great hope that somehow the lives of these victims may be restored and renewed. We’re all shocked and deeply saddened by this tragedy.”
A courtroom outburst and social media support
At Nassar’s sentencing last week, Margraves initially asked Judge Janice Cunningham for “five minutes in a locked room with this demon.” When the judge told him that would not be possible, Margraves lunged at Nassar, but was restrained by security.
Margraves’ three daughters — Lauren, Madison and Morgan — all had spoken out against Nassar. Lauren and Madison Margraves each spoke during the Eaton County sentencing, while a statement was read on Morgan’s behalf during Nassar’s sentencing earlier in January in Ingham County.
Nassar’s sentencing in Eaton County was his third in recent months as dozens of young women and their families stepped forward to confront him for his sexual abuse of gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment.
“I lost control. I apologize a hundred times,” Margraves told reporters afterward. “I’m definitely calmed down. I’m embarrassed. I’m not here to upstage my daughters. I’m here to help them heal.”
Social media users rallied around Margraves, hailing him as a “hero.”
Margraves has not been charged with any crime over his court outburst. His attorney, Mick Grewal, said that he is working to ensure that no charges arise from Margraves’ actions.