Larry Nassar was sentenced last week to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting gymnasts under medical treatment. But his court proceedings weren’t over.
He is back in court today for three more counts of sexual assault that he admitted to committing at Twisters, a gymnastics center owned by John Geddert, coach of the 2012 Olympic women’s gymnastics team.
At least 57 victims’ impact statements are expected at the hearing, which will run through Friday in Charlotte, Mich., 25 miles southwest of Lansing, according to a memo released Tuesday by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
Eaton County Circuit Court Judge Janice Cunningham said 265 women have reported abuse by Nassar. Many of those victims acknowledged a “sisterhood” of survivors that supported each other through testimony.
Katherine Ebert was among the first 10 to testify on Thursday.
Ebert was 15 in 2013 when she first visited Nassar, then considered an acclaimed sports physician, at Michigan State University for an injured knee. She asked him about Jordyn Wieber, a member of USA Gymnastics’ “Firece Five” at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Nassar had treated Wieber, and he had signed photos in his office of Olympians all over the walls.
While stretching Ebert’s quadriceps, Nassar slipped his finger beneath her leotard and touched her genitals, she said. Other victims recounted Nassar digitally penetrating them.
Her gut felt “nauseous,” Ebert said at the hearing. “My brain kept saying the same thing: He is a doctor.”
“There are black holes in my memory that come back as nightmares and flashbacks,” Ebert said of that first appointment.
Ebert, a student at MSU, called the university’s administration “uneducated sociopaths who have no remorse,” in her testimony. “Talk is cheap, but my tuition isn’t,” she added.
After Nassar’s sentencing hearing last week, Lou Anna Simon resigned as Michigan State’s long-serving president. The university’s athletic director followed. Nassar’s abuse has sparked congressional investigations and the resignation of all 21 members of the USA Gymnastics board of directors.
Speaking publicly for the first time, a teenage girl also addressed Nassar, who sat with his attorney in an orange prison suit. He occasionally dabbed at his eyes and wrote notes to his defense team.
“I know I am just a voice, but now I am part of an army of survivors,” the 15-year-old said.
“Looking back at gymnastics, I have no good memories. It is all clouded by memories of you,” wrote victim Madison Bonofiglio, whose testimony was read by prosecutors.