LANSING, Mich. -- (WXMI/AP) -- The former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation's top gymnasts for years was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison as the judge declared: “I just signed your death warrant.”
The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing in which scores of Larry Nassar's victims were able to confront him face to face in a Michigan courtroom.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said Nassar's “decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable.”
“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.”
Nassar found competitive gymnastics to be a “perfect place” for his crimes because victims saw him as a “god” in the sport, a prosecutor said Wednesday, shortly before the former doctor was to be sentenced for years of molesting Olympic gymnasts and other young women.
“It takes some kind of sick perversion to not only assault a child but to do so with her parent in the room,” prosecutor Angela Povilaitis said. “To do so while a lineup of eager young gymnasts waited.”
Nassar turned to the courtroom gallery to make a brief statement, saying that the accounts of more than 150 victims had “shaken me to my core.” He said “no words” can describe how sorry he is for his crimes.
“I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days,” Nassar said as many of his accusers wept.
Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing area, but the sentencing hearing has been open to anyone who said they were a victim. His 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, 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.
“I'd been told during my entire gymnastics career to not question authority,” a former elite gymnast, Isabell Hutchins, said Tuesday.
Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes. He is scheduled to be sentenced next week on more assault convictions in Eaton County, Michigan.