Disgraced former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years and up to 175 years in a Michigan State prison. Today’s sentence ends a marathon sentencing hearing that featured statements from more than 150 girls and women who asserted he sexually abused them.
The sentence in a Michigan state prison is part of a plea deal in which Nassar, 54, admitted to 10 sex assault charges in two Michigan counties. The ruling comes on top of a 60-year federal sentence that Nassar also faces for child pornography crimes to which he pleaded guilty.
The sentencing hearing that began last Tuesday in Lansing, Mich., was expected to feature 88 victim’s statements and take four days. Ultimately, it spanned seven days.
Dozens more girls and women came forward to confront Nassar, including Olympians Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney. The parade of harrowing accounts of Nassar’s alleged abuse — often done under the guise of pain therapy, often with parents in the room — introduced fresh national attention and outrage to a case whose core facts have been well-established for nearly a year.
On Tuesday, the NCAA, which had remained silent on the Nassar case, sent Michigan State a letter regarding potential rules violations.
Victims have said they complained about Nassar’s conduct to Michigan State athletics officials as far back as 1997, and in 2014 an investigation by the school’s Title IX office cleared Nassar after a woman alleged he assaulted her. The school’s attorneys have insisted Michigan State officials did not mishandle prior complaints, and asserted Nassar’s methods of abuse were particularly insidious and difficult to detect.
Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon has resisted calls to resign, and the school’s board of trustees has maintained its support of her leadership, but school officials last week acquiesced to requests from victims and their attorneys for an independent review of the university’s culpability for Nassar’s crimes. The state attorney general’s office has agreed to conduct the inquiry.