Former U.S. Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar has pleaded guilty in a Michigan court to seven first-degree counts of criminal sexual misconduct toward several female gymnasts. Among them are U.S. olympic gold medalists Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney.
Nassar was a team doctor for the Michigan State University gymnastics team, U.S. Gymnastics and Team U.S.A. when he committed sexual abuse against the young athletes under the pretext of giving medical care. Most of the victims were minors at the time of the crimes.
Plaintiffs initially charged Nassar with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and 11 counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. However, the Michigan Attorney General agreed not to file additional charges after Wednesday’s plea. In total, more than 125 athletes have accused Nassar of sexual misconduct while under his medical attention.
All will have until before Jan. 12 to provide presiding Michigan judge Rosemarie Aquilina with a victim impact statement, which she can use in deciding Nassar’s final sentence.
Nassar could face between 25 and 40 years in jail.
Olympic gymnast medalist and survivor of Nassar, Alexandra Raisman, said in a tweet that the “Court referring to Larry as DOCTOR Nassar. I AM DISGUSTED. I am very disappointed. He does NOT deserve that. Larry is disgusting. (sic) Larry is a MONSTER not a doctor.
Nassar told the court, "I highly regret all of this has turned into a match that caused an out of control forest fire.”
Judge Aquilina asked Nassar if the exams he conducted that were in question were for medical reasons or personal. Nassar said they were personal. She told Nassar, "You used your position of trust in the worst way ever: to abuse these kids.”
Maroney recounted that Nassar gave her a sleeping pill while on a long distance flight and the “next thing I knew was that I was alone with (Nassar) in his hotel room getting ‘treatment’ ... I thought I was going to die.” She was a victim of Nassar for over 7 years.
Nassar had been a physician for the gymnastics teams for over 30 years. Most of his crimes occurred between 1998 and 2015.