Throughout multiple sexual abuse sentencing hearings for former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, emotions have run high as hundreds of victims testified about Nassar’s gruesome crimes.
Tensions boiled over Friday as the father of three daughters whom Nassar sexually assaulted attempted to physically attack the ex-doctor in the courtroom in Eaton County, Michigan.
After his daughters testified, Randall Margraves asked the judge to grant him five minutes alone in a room with Nassar. When she refused, he charged at Nassar and was tackled by deputies and restrained.
“I want that son of a b***h!” Margraves yelled as he was held on the ground. “Give me one minute with that bastard!”
“What if this was happening to you guys?” Margraves asked the deputies as he was led out of the courtroom.
Victims continue to come forward
The victim impact statements have been difficult for both the victims and those listening, as they often give graphic and painful details about the nature of the abuse, as well as the emotional and psychological impact it has had over the years.
More than 180 victims have now testified in Nassar’s sentencing hearings, with more than 150 of those taking place during a previous hearing when Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.
Law enforcement admits failure
The institutional failures of USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, and law enforcement agencies that allowed Nassar to freely abuse hundreds of women and girls continues to be revealed in greater detail.
Reports came out Wednesday that the Meridian Township Police Department was investigating Nassar in 2004 after being accused of sexual abuse by a 17-year-old girl he treated.
Nassar gave police a PowerPoint presentation explaining the alleged medical need to massage the girl’s breasts and attempt to insert his fingers into her vagina for a scoliosis treatment, and the police dropped the investigation.
“We missed it,” Meridian Township manager Frank Walsh said Wednesday. “We’re not going to hide it. We were deceived.”
Defense attorney attacks victims’ credibility
Nassar’s defense attorney went on a Detroit radio program earlier this week and claimed that there was no way Nassar could have abused as many women as there are coming forward. The number of accusers now exceeds 250.
“I have a very hard time believing that my client could have even possibly assaulted that many people day in and day out in front of their parents, and that every single one of those things was a crime, but he was such a manipulator he got away with it,” the attorney, Shannon Smith, told WWJ-AM. “I just can’t imagine that’s true.”
She went on to say the girls simply think they’ve been victimized because of what has now become public about Nassar.
“Some of these girls, to be quite frank, they didn’t even know what to think because they never felt victimized,” Smith said. “He was never inappropriate to them. And because of everything they’ve seen, they just feel like they must have been victimized. And I think that’s really unfortunate.”