Former USA Gymnastics Doctor Receives Maximum Sentence of 175 Years in Prison


By Laura Lassen and Jaclyn Levendusky

The families of over 150 sexual assault victims watched as Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Lawrence (Larry) G. Nassar to 40-175 years in prison.

Nassar was one of the most well-regarded gymnastics doctors, practicing both for Michigan State University and for Team USA. His outstanding reputation led many parents and athletes to trust Nassar. However, he took advantage of this, and assaulted young girls while claiming that it was part of their treatment and necessary for their recovery. The parents of the girls would often be standing in the same room, unaware of the damage that was being done to their children.

Michigan State University first became aware of complaints against Nassar in 2014. An investigation that followed discovered no violations made and he continued to practice. In September 2016, The Indianapolis Star reported that two gymnasts claimed that Nassar had sexually abused them, and this time, Nassar was guilty. He was fired from the college.

In June 2015, USA Gymnastics received a complaint regarding Nassar, but waited five weeks before reporting the incident to authorities. After an investigation, he was fired in July 2015, and many have criticized the organization for not acting immediately.

“I just think it’s sad that USA Gymnastics and Michigan State knew something was happening and didn’t do anything about it,” said sophomore Lindsey Baratta, who has been following the court case.

The first public accusations began in September 2016 when Rachael Denhollander, former gymnast, spoke out about Nassar’s sexual abuse. She told both the Judge and Nassar, “Larry’s the most dangerous type of abuser. One who is capable of manipulating his victims through coldly calculated grooming methodologies, presenting the most wholesome, caring external persona as a deliberate means to insure a steady stream of children to assault.”

At the time of Nassar’s sentencing, only about 88 girls were expected to give their stories. The sentencing was pushed back and ultimately lasted seven days, as 169 people wished to provide statements. Team USA gymnasts Jamie Dantzscher, Jeanette Antolin, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Maggie Nichols, Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, and Jordyn Wieber were among the victims who shared impact statements.

Of the people coming forward with allegations, Simone Biles and Aly Raisman are some of the most well-known.

Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in federal prison on Wednesday, January 24th, in addition to the 60 years he received in December 2017 for child pornography charges. His combined potential federal prison sentence is over 200 years.