Former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was handed a harsh sentence Wednesday, following a seven-day hearing which gave voice to the physician’s many victims.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who presided over Nassar’s trial and sentencing, condemned the sex predator to between 40 and 175 years in prison.
“I just signed your death warrant,” said Aquilina.
According to The New York Times, at the case’s conclusion, Dr. Nassar was given an opportunity to make a statement. He spent several minutes apologizing, only occasionally looking toward his many victims in the gallery.
“Your words these past several days have had a significant effect on myself and have shaken me to my core. I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days,” said Nassar, breathing out words between sob – a spectacle that caused several women in attendance to audibly groan.
But Nassar’s words and show of despair proved in vain.
Shortly before sentencing, Judge Aquilina read parts of a letter he’d sent to the court a week before. Complaining of what he considers “unfair” treatment, Nassar lamented his treatment in a separate child pornography case and accused his victims of seeking media attention and settlement money.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” he wrote – a line which, recounts the Times, elicited gasps from spectators when read aloud.
“This letter,” Aquilina said, “tells me you have not owned what you did.
“You still think somehow you are right, you’re a doctor, that you’re entitled, so you don’t have to listen. That you did ‘treatment.’ I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir.”
Nassar abused most of his victims while operating under the guise of a medical professional. His crimes were frequently committed at his offices — on Michigan State University campus, his home, and gymnastics training centers.
Although the physician himself is sentenced and is due to spend a lifetime behind bars, the fallout from the Nassar scandal isn’t likely to fade any time in the near future. On Tuesday, the NCAA announced it was launching an investigation into MSU and its athletics department, to determine whether any violations had been committed, covered up, or ignored.
And throughout the state of Michigan, ire continues to be drawn against longtime MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.
An MSU Board of Trustees statement reaffirming their support for Simon prompted an outpouring of criticism, some of which emanated from lofty places. Both of Michigan’s U.S. senators issued separate statements on Wednesdays, calling on Simon to leave her post.
Locally, the state House of Representatives passed a 96-11, non-binding resolution demanding her immediate resignation. At least one trustee has defected to call for Simon to step down, arguing that public opinion has “clearly turned against the administration.”