The former USA Gymnastics team doctor who admitted to sexually abusing seven gymnasts under the guise of treatment learned his fate in a Michigan courtroom Wednesday.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced the disgraced doctor to 40 to 175 years.
“It is my honor to sentence you because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again,” the Ingham County Circuit judge said. “Anywhere you walk, destruction would occur to those most vulnerable.”
“I just signed your death warrant,” Aquilina added.
During the seven-day sentencing hearing, the judge allowed anyone who said they were a victim to come face-to-face with the predator to give their impact statements.
In all, 156 appeared in court, including Olympic medalists Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, The Guardian reported. Two dozen others sent private letters to the court.
Before the sentence was announced, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis made her final remarks.
“The breadth and ripple of this defendant’s abuse and destruction is infinite,” Povilaitis said. “Nassar used his prestige to gain [his victims’] trust and to exploit them, leaving many of the emotionally shattered by a man they not only trusted but loved. In competitive gymnastics, he found the perfect place for his master manipulation.”
And the judge made no effort to cover-up her disgust for the once-respected physician and praised the victims who appeared in court.
Nassar’s “decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable,” Aquilina said.
Aquilina also assured the victims — or “sister survivors,” as she called them — that Nassar would pay for his crimes against them.
The former doctor’s sentence reflected not only the seven counts associated with his plea, The Guardian reported. The judge told the courtroom that it also takes into account those who came forward during the sentencing hearing, “because the depth of all of your crimes have cut into the core of this community.”
What did Nassar have to say?
Nassar, who also worked with athletes at Michigan State University, defended his medical practices, according to a letter he sent to the court, last week.
The judge read parts of the letter throughout the sentencing phase.
“I was a good doctor because my treatments worked, and those patients that are now speaking out are the same ones that praised and came back over and over,” Nassar wrote.
“The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad. They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” he said in the letter, according to CNN.
Nassar also accused his victims of lying and claimed they were seeking media attention and financial reward, according to the letter.
In a brief statement on Wednesday, Nassar said the victims who’d given impact statements had “shaken me to my core.”
While looking at those seated in the courtroom gallery, he said, there were “no words” to express how sorry he is for his crimes, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days,” Nassar added.
What did some of his victims say to him in court?
Last week, Raisman took the opportunity to tell Nassar how she felt about the abuse she’d suffered at his hands.
“Adult after adult protected you,” Raisman said last week when she appeared in court, The Guardian reported. “How do you sleep at night? You are the person they had ‘take the lead on athlete care.’ I cringe to think your influence remains in the policies they [USA Gymnastics] claim will make athletes safe.”
“I will not rest until every last trace of the influence you had on this sport has been destroyed like the cancer it is,” Raisman added.
Brooke Hylek, a gymnast who’s planning to compete in college, also had harsh words for Nassar, the Tribune reported.
“I cannot believe I ever trusted you, and I will never forgive you,” Hylek said Tuesday. “I’m happy you will be spending the rest of your life in prison. Enjoy hell by the way.”
Officials from the Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, and the U.S. Olympic Committee allegedly knew about Nassar’s abuse and are named as co-defendants in civil suits that appear headed to trial, according to the Tribune.
Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence on child pornography charges. Next week, he will appear in an Eaton County, Michigan, court for sentencing on more sexual assault convictions.