Former gymnast Lindsey Lemke spoke at length on Thursday during the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar, accused by more than 100 girls and women of sexual abuse while he worked as a doctor for the USA Gymnastics team and at Michigan State University.
Nassar pleaded guilty in November to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Lemke’s words spared none of Nassar’s feelings or recently-professed piety. She also went after the enablers of Nassar’s decades-long regime of abuse at USAG and MSU. The portion of her victim impact statement directed to Nassar himself is being presented here in full.
“Today I am speaking to you as my 10-year-old self. On behalf of her. So I hope that is who you picture standing up here looking at you right now. I have my armed wrapped around her, as I will be the voice to you that I needed to hear 12 years ago. Today I get to see what my life will be like without you for the first time in 12 years. Today I will finally be free.
“Larry, to me, you are the worst type of person. Someone who takes advantage. Someone who belittles. Someone who controls. Someone who took away trust. Childhoods, happiness, innocence, and someone who even took lives of others. I was abused so many times that I can’t even remember when the first time was. I just know that I was only 10-years-old.
“Because you probably don’t remember, this was me when you slowly but surely piece by piece started to take advantage of me and piece by piece took my childhood away. I had always been mature for my age but never ready for something of this nature. In fact, no one is at any age, for what you did to all of us. Well, here I am, Larry. I am 22-years-old now and I have had to put myself back together from you breaking me piece by piece. I did that. Even after what you thought you did to me–even after–even though you thought you had the power over me.
“In case you were wondering: I was forced to quit gymnastics in October. Due to my back pain, I was forced. I wonder every day if you caused my back pain to be worse with your treatments so that I had to return to your basement. Your basement every single Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night for years.
“However, I am overjoyed to tell you how much I have prospered since you last abused me. I have competed for two D1 universities, I have maintained a 3.4 GPA, I have made the Big Ten Academic Honor Roll, I was named team captain for my senior year by my teammates, I will be working for the Chicago Cubs this summer on an internship for event coordinating, I was selected to be at the MSU student athlete academic council, and most importantly, in December of 2018, I will graduate with my degree in Hospitality Business where MSU has the number two ranked Hospitality Business school in the nation.
“You did not slow me down. You motivated me to push forward full force without you. Today I speak to you because us women, we are stronger than you thought you ever were. We control you. We, together, will rise while you fall. And we will not stop fighting until you are less than that what you made us feel for years. You sit up here and shake your head back-and-forth and you looked confused because you still don’t believe what you did to all of us was wrong. And that’s the worst part. You abused us and you don’t even remember. That’s sickening. Well, good thing you have a lifetime in prison to figure it out. That is, even if you make it through, because I don’t think you will.
“Larry, I want you to know that last night, as I was writing my statement, I had an affirmation pop up on my phone that read, ‘Never let someone with the significance of a speed bump become a road-block in your life.’ So, while you are praying the rosary for forgiveness, it is clear that God has my back and he is on my side–not yours.”
(For the portion of Lemke’s statement dealing with USA Gymnastics and MSU officials, see here.)
[image via screengrab]