Six-time Olympic medalist and Needham native Aly Raisman gave a powerful statement at the sentencing hearing for former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, saying he perpetuated the “worst epidemic of sexual abuse in the history of sports.”
The 23-year-old asked the judge to give Nassar, who is facing a minimum of 25 to 40 years in prison for molesting girls at Michigan State University and his home, the “strongest possible sentence which his actions deserve.” Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.
Raisman first said she was abused by Nassar in an interview with “60 Minutes” in November and detailed her experience in her book, “Fierce.” In her statement, the gold medalist said the former team doctor took advantage of the fact that treatments with him “were mandatory.”
“You lied to me and manipulated me to think that when you treated me, you were closing your eyes because you had been working hard, when you were really touching me — an innocent child — to pleasure yourself,” Raisman said.
Later in her statement, Raisman said, “Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice. Well, you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice, and I’m only beginning to just use them.”
The Needham native also condemned USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee, and other adults for their lack of action when athletes spoke up about the abuse. Raisman previously said that USA Gymnastics told her “to be quiet” about the abuse she said she suffered at Nassar’s hands.
“I am here to tell you that I will not rest until every last trace of your influence on this sport has been destroyed, like the cancer it is,” Raisman said to Nassar in her statement. “Your abuse started 30 years ago, but that’s just the first reported incident we know of. If over these 30 years just one adult listened, and had the courage and character to act, this tragedy could have been avoided. I, and so many others, would have never, ever met you. Larry, you should have been locked up a long, long time ago.”