The former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation's top gymnasts for years under the guise of medical treatment was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison by a judge who proudly told him, "I just signed your death warrant."
The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing in which more than 150 of Larry Nassar's victims offered statements about the physician who was renowned for treating athletes at the sport's highest levels. Some confronted him face to face in the Michigan courtroom.
"It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again. You have done nothing to control those urges and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said.
Nassar's actions were "precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable," she said.
When the hearing ended, the courtroom broke into applause. Victims and prosecutors embraced at the conclusion of the grueling 16-month case.
But the anguish of the past week will have little, if any, practical effect on Nassar's fate. Before serving the Michigan sentence, the 54-year-old must first serve a 60-year federal sentence for child pornography crimes. With credit for good behavior, he could complete that sentence in about 55 years. But by then, he would be more than 100 years old if still alive.
He is also scheduled to be sentenced next week on more assault convictions in Eaton County, Michigan.
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A prosecutor called Nassar "possibly the most prolific serial child sex abuser in history" and said he found competitive gymnastics to be a "perfect place" for his crimes because victims saw him as a "god."
Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis also said Nassar "perfected a built-in excuse and defense" as a doctor, even though he was "performing hocus-pocus medicine."
"It takes some kind of sick perversion to not only assault a child but to do so with her parent in the room. To do so while a lineup of eager young gymnasts waited," Povilaitis said.
She urged people to believe young victims of sexual abuse no matter who they accuse and praised journalists, including those at the Indianapolis Star, who were among the first to report on the allegations.
Although Nassar's work with gymnasts received the most attention, the allegations against him spanned a dozen sports over 25 years.
Nassar stood to address his victims in court, turning around from the microphone to tell them their words have "shaken me to my core."
"I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days," Nassar said, adding that he recognizes that "what I am feeling pales in comparison to the pain, trauma and emotional destruction" they have faced.
"No words can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am," Nassar said.
"Larry's soul is broken," defense attorney Matt Newburg said.
However, in giving her sentence to Nassar, Aquilina contradicted his apology by reading more excerpts from a letter he wrote to her during the trial, two months after his guilty plea. Nassar wrote, according to Aquilina, that his plea was in fact forced and that he was "so manipulated" by the attorney general and judge.
Nassar wrote that he was "a good doctor" and that "the media convinced" his victims "everything I did was wrong and bad. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
He added that the "stories" about him were fabricated.
Aquilina fired back at Nassar, saying, "It was not treatment. It was not medical."
Nassar looked on, emotionless, as Aquilina proceeded and delivered his sentence.
One of the first athletes to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault was the last victim to offer a statement at the hearing.
Rachael Denhollander is a Kentucky lawyer who stepped forward in 2016 after the sport's governing body was accused of mishandling complaints of sexual assault. She said Nassar groped and fondled her when she was a 15-year-old gymnast in Michigan.
Denhollander's statements to Michigan State University police put the criminal investigation in high gear in 2016.
"You have become a man ruled by selfish and perverted desires," she told Nassar, who worked at the university and USA Gymnastics, the governing body that also trains Olympians.
USA Gymnastics responded to Nassar's sentencing on Wednesday.
Kerry Perry, president and CEO of the organization, said the group "applauds Judge Rosemarie Aquilina for handing Nassar the maximum sentence of up to 175 years, in an effort to bring justice to those he abused and punish him for his horrific behavior.
"The powerful voices and strength of these survivors have left a lasting impression on all of us. Every day, their stories will impact my decisions as president and CEO every day."
Michigan State also responded to the sentencing, saying in a statement that the judge's decision was an "important step toward justice."
"Nassar’s behavior was horrific and repugnant, and it is deeply disturbing to know that his crimes were often committed on campus," said MSU spokesperson Jason Cody. "He will rightfully spend the rest of his life in prison."
Cody added that MSU created the Healing Assistance Fund "to help survivors access any counseling and mental health services they may need."
MSU President Lou Anna Simon resigned Wednesday, hours after the sentencing. "As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger. I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements," Simon said in her resignation.
Nassar pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing area, but the sentencing hearing was open to anyone who said they were a victim. Accusers said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them, often without explanation, while they were on a table seeking help for various injuries.
The accusers, many of whom were children, said they trusted Nassar to care for them properly and were in denial about what was happening or were afraid to speak up. He sometimes used a sheet or his body to block the view of any parent in the room.
Several elite former gymnasts talked about how Nassar won their allegiance with candy, Olympic trinkets and encouraging words while they were under constant scrutiny from demanding coaches.
The judge praised the victims who appeared in her court, calling them "sister survivors." The women included Olympians Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney.
The judge also called for a broader investigation into how the abuse was allowed to go on for so long. She said justice "requires more" than what she can do.
The CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee soon announced an independent inquiry. Scott Blackmun said the third-party investigation will attempt to determine "who knew what and when" when it came to Nassar.
Brooke Hylek, a gymnast who plans to compete in college, heaped scorn on Nassar.
"I cannot believe I ever trusted you, and I will never forgive you," she said Tuesday. "I'm happy you will be spending the rest of your life in prison. Enjoy hell by the way."