Judge Janice Cunningham delivered a 40- to 125-year sentence to Larry Nassar on Monday, bringing the criminal proceedings against the convicted child molester to a conclusion. More than 260 girls and women have asserted abuse by Nassar who, often under the guise of medical treatment, digitally penetrated and fondled them.
The sentence, for three sexual assault counts Nassar admitted to committing at a local gymnastics center in Dimondale, Mich., doesn’t lengthen what already amounts to a life sentence for the 54-year-old, as he will serve it concurrently with the 40- to 175-year sentence he received last month for seven counts of sexual assault in Lansing, Mich. The former Michigan State University and Olympic gymnastics physician also must serve a 60-year federal term for child pornography charges.
Monday’s sentence brought an end to a three-day hearing featuring 65 emotional impact statements from girls and women who asserted abuse by Nassar, as well as some parents, including Randall Margraves, the father who tried to attack Nassar in court Friday before he was restrained by law enforcement officers. Lauren, Morgan and Madison Margraves — Randall Margraves’s daughters — said they were abused by Nassar.
“I realize they may never trust a man again,” their father said Friday.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit, Nassar spoke briefly before receiving his sentence.
“The words expressed by everyone that has spoken, including the parents have impacted me to my innermost core . . . It’s impossible to convey the depth and breadth of how sorry I am to each and everyone involved,” he said.
As she issued her sentence, Judge Cunningham termed the scope of Nassar’s crimes “beyond comprehension.” She noted that Nassar still professed his innocence in a letter read aloud by another judge in court last month. He claimed he had been performing legitimate procedures his patients misconstrued as assault.
“I am not convinced that you truly understand that what you did was wrong and the devastating impact that you have had on the victims, their families and friends. Clearly you are in denial,” Cunningham said.
The judge also brought up officials’ slow response to claims made by girls and women Nassar treated.
“It is unfathomable to think about the number of victims who could have been spared” had authorities acted on prior complaints, she said Monday.
Several alleged victims have said they raised complaints about Nassar to coaches and trainers at Michigan State as far back as 1997. A 2004 investigation by a local police force in Michigan cleared Nassar, as did a 2014 investigation by Michigan State police and the university’s Title IX office. An FBI investigation, started in 2015 with a complaint from USA Gymnastics, languished for more than a year. Nassar continued to treat, and allegedly assault, patients at a Michigan State clinic until August 2016, when another victim filed a complaint with Michigan State police and told her story to the Indianapolis Star.
Several members of Congress have called for congressional inquiries into how Nassar avoided prosecution for so long.
Over the course of an FBI investigation and Nassar’s three sentencing hearings, public outrage led to the resignation of Michigan State’s president and athletic director. The school faces lawsuits filed by more than 140 alleged victims and parents, a number that could rise. USA Gymnastics is also facing scores of lawsuits.
USA Gymnastics’ chief executive resigned in 2017, and last month, the organization’s entire board of directors resigned.