Aly Raisman Calls Larry Nassar 'the Worst of Humanity' as Disgraced Gymnastics Doctor Is Sentenced
A federal judge on Thursday sentenced disgraced former team USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar for possessing thousands of images of child pornography
Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman was not allowed to speak at Thursday’s sentencing hearing for disgraced former Team USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Instead, the athlete publicly released her victim impact statement, in which she emotionally addresses Nassar and details the effects of his abuse.
“Shame on you, Larry, you are the worst example of humanity,” Raisman wrote in her statement, posted on The Players’ Tribune. “You promised me that you would heal my injuries. You gave me gifts to make me think you were a good person, to make me believe you were my friend. You were nice so that we would trust you, to make it easier for you to take advantage of so many people, including me. But you lied to me. You lied to all of us.”
Raisman, 23, is one of many current and former athletes to accuse Nassar of sexual abuse. McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, Rachael Denhollander and more have alleged that Nassar abused them under the guise of medical treatment.
U.S. District Judge Janet Neff ruled last week that victim impact statements could not be read out loud in court and instead should be submitted to the judge for her to read privately. On Thursday, Neff sentenced Nassar to 60 years in prison for possessing thousands of images of child pornography, according to the Lansing State Journal and other outlets.
The sentencing marks the first of three prison terms being imposed on Nassar for child porn crimes or sexual abuse. The child pornography violations emerged after Michigan State University officials launched a sexual assault investigation in August 2016 after former gymnast Rachael Denhollander accused him of abusing her as a teen.
“I tried to improve myself. I lost everything because of this … I chose wrongly,” he told the court on Thursday, according to the Detroit News. “I really tried to be a good person. I really tried to help people.”
Raisman wrote in her statement that it took some time for her to come to terms with the abuse.
“I became almost numb to my feelings. It was the only way I could survive the Olympic process,” she wrote. “It was exhausting. The stress of constantly keeping certain thoughts in the back of my mind may have allowed me to focus on the moment, but it become more and more painful over time, both physically and emotionally.”
Raisman said that, in the wake of the alleged abuse, she avoided certain medical treatments, became distrusting of men, and suffered severe stress.
“I am trying now to take back my control, to remind myself that Larry has no power over me,” she said. “It is never easy, but I am fighting to believe that the sport — which I do love — is independent of Larry and those who allowed him to do what he did. I’ve decided that I can’t let him take gymnastics away from me.”
The latest hearing comes shortly after Nassar pleaded guilty to a total of 10 criminal sexual conduct charges in a pair of Michigan counties as part of a plea deal. He is scheduled to be sentenced for those counts in January 2018.
In Michigan’s Eaton County Court, Nassar last month admitted that between 2009 and 2011 he inserted ungloved fingers into the vaginas of three victims, and at least one was under the age of 13. One week earlier, Nassar pleaded guilty to seven criminal sexual conduct charges in Ingham County Circuit Court. He entered the guilty plea in exchange for assurances that he would face no more charges involving dozens of other victims, The Detroit News reported at the time.
More than 130 women and girls have accused Nassar of assault.
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Nassar’s lawyers issued a statement obtained by PEOPLE last month after his first guilty plea, which said in part, “As our client indicated in court today, he hopes that his guilty plea begins the healing process for those individuals whom have been the subject of the state criminal prosecution.”
USA Gymnastics also issued a statement following last month’s guilty plea, stating in part that the organization “is very sorry that any athlete was harmed by Larry Nassar. Upon first learning of athlete concerns about Nassar in 2015, USA Gymnastics reported him to the FBI and relieved him of any involvement with USA Gymnastics … USA Gymnastics also views Nassar’s guilty plea as an important acknowledgment of his appalling and devious conduct that permits punishment without further victimization of survivors.”