Katherine Ebert was 15 years old in 2013 when she first visited Larry Nassar, then an acclaimed sports physician, at Michigan State University for an injured knee.
His office had signed photos of Olympians all over the walls. He’d treated those athletes personally.
Ebert pestered him about Jordyn Wieber, a member of USA Gymnastics’ “Fierce Five” at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
He was smart and patient and funny, and then his physical examination began.
Nassar, sentenced last week to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment, is back in court Thursday for three more counts of sexual assault he admitted to committing at Twistars, 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.
Ebert was among the first 10 to testify.
“There are black holes in my memory that come back as nightmares and flashbacks,” Ebert said of that first appointment.
While stretching her quadriceps, Nassar slipped his finger beneath her leotard and touched her genitals, she said. Other victims recounted Nassar digitally penetrating them.
“My gut felt nauseous and my brain kept saying the same thing: He is a doctor,” Ebert 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.
Nassar sat with his attorney in an orange prison suit. He occasionally dabbed at his eyes and wrote notes to his defense team.
His abuse has sparked congressional investigations, the resignation of all 21 members of the USA Gymnastics board of directors and the president and athletic director of Michigan State University, where Nassar practiced.
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.
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.
Cunningham addressed each victim after their statement, though never spoke at length like Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who told Nassar she “signed your death warrant” at the conclusion of his sentencing hearing in Lansing last week.
“I know I am just a voice, but now I am part of an army of survivors,” said one victim, age 15, who spoke publicly for the first time.
“I want my daughter,” victim Tiffany Dutton said, “even your daughters, Larry, to see and know their worth.”