LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A medal-winning Olympic gymnast said Thursday that sexual assault by a Michigan sports doctor “left scars” in her mind that may never fade as a judge heard a third day of testimony from victims.
Larry Nassar could be sentenced Friday in Lansing, Michigan. Since Tuesday, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has been listening to dozens of young women who were molested after seeking his help for injuries.
Aquilina started the hearing Thursday by saying Nassar had written a letter fearing that his mental health wasn’t strong enough to sit and listen to a parade of victims. The judge dismissed it as “mumbo jumbo.”
“Spending four or five days listening to them is minor, considering the hours of pleasure you’ve had at their expense, ruining their lives,” Aquilina said.
Nassar, 54, faces a minimum sentence of 25 to 40 years in prison for molesting girls at Michigan State University and his home. He also was a team doctor at USA Gymnastics, based in Indianapolis, which trains Olympians. He’s already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.
“Dr. Nassar was not a doctor,” 2012 Olympian McKayla Maroney said in a statement read by a prosecutor. “He left scars on my psyche that may never go away.”
USA Gymnastics in 2016 reached a financial settlement with Maroney that barred her from making disparaging remarks. But the organization this week said it would not seek any money for her “brave statements.”
A 2000 Olympian, Jamie Dantzscher, looked at Nassar and said, “How dare you ask any of us for forgiveness.”
“Your days of manipulation are over,” she said. “We have a voice. We have the power now.”
Nassar wasn’t the only target. Victims also criticized Michigan State and USA Gymnastics. Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon attended part of the session Wednesday. The school is being sued by dozens of women, who say campus officials wrote off complaints about the popular doctor.
“Guess what? You’re a coward, too,” current student and former gymnast Lindsey Lemke said Thursday, referring to Simon.
The judge has been praising each speaker and criticizing Nassar.
It’s “about their control over other human beings and feeling like God and they can do anything,” Aquilina said of sex offenders.
On Jan. 31, Nassar will get another sentence for sexual assaults at a Lansing-area gymnastics club in a different county.