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Lawrence Nassar will finally be sentenced Wednesday morning in Ingham County, Michigan. Court is scheduled to be begin at 9 a.m. EST. Three people are set to speak, after which, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina will hand down the sentence. Prosecutors asked for sentence between 40 and 125 years in prison.
An ever-growing roster of over 100 people gave victim impact statements over the past week. Most told pretty much told the same kind of story about him: That he, as a sports doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, used his position to abuse women during what were supposed to be medical procedures. Survivors included girls as young as six. His jobs gave him to cover to do this for decades.
While most women were athletes, several saw him for other kinds of injuries. Whitney Burns said she was 15 when she first met Nassar and needed treatment for car crash injuries.
His illicit actions also interfered with his actual work, some women said. Isabell Hutchins, a gymnast, told the court that amid the abuse, he did nothing about the pain in her leg: It ended up being a broken bone.
Relatives also gave statements. The parents of Jillian Swinehart, 15, stood by her side.
“I cannot speak for what my daughter is going through,” said mother Anne Swinehart when it came her time to speak. “I will never get rid of the guilt that I have about that experience. I know that it is not my fault. It is the fault of Dr. Nassar. It is the fault of every institution that listened, but did not act.”
Indeed, both MSU and USA Gymnastics caught flak throughout the sentencing hearing this past week. Some survivors called out the institutions for doing nothing about Nassar’s actions. This criticism thrives outside the Ingham County courtroom. The university, for example, is fighting lawsuits by women who said MSU did nothing about the abuse.
Both institutions deny wrongdoing.
“At all times, USA Gymnastics has attempted to support athletes’ desire for confidentiality or public disclosure, and it has commended every athlete who has come forward to report abuse and will continue to do so,” USA Gymnastics said in a Jan. 9 statement.
“We want to say again that we are truly sorry for the abuse Nassar’s victims suffered, the pain it caused and the pain it continues to cause,” MSU Spokesperson Jason Cody told Law&Crime in a statement January 16. “But as we have said previously, any suggestion that the university covered up Nassar’s horrific conduct is simply false. Nassar preyed on his victims, changing their lives in terrible ways.”
For all intents and purposes, Nassar will almost certainly never again be free. The 54-year-0ld was sentenced in December to 60 years in prison for federal child porn charges. He also pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County, Michigan. The sentencing hearing for that is set for January 31.
Stay with Law&Crime.com and the Law&Crime Network for continuing coverage of the hearing.