A Michigan judge delivered a 40- to 125-year sentence to disgraced former Michigan State University and Olympic gymnastics physician Larry Nassar on Monday, bringing the criminal proceedings against the convicted child molester to a conclusion.
The sentence, for three sexual assault counts Nassar admitted to committing at a gymnastics center in Dimondale, Mich., didn't lengthen what already amounted to a life sentence for the 54-year-old: He will serve it concurrently with the 40- to 175-year sentence he received last month for seven counts of sexual assault in nearby Lansing. Nassar also must serve a 60-year federal term for child pornography crimes.
More than 260 girls and women have asserted abuse by Nassar who, often under the guise of medical treatment, digitally penetrated and fondled them. Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham termed the scope of Nassar's crimes "beyond comprehension" as she issued her sentence.
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 every one involved," he said.
As the judge explained her sentence, however, she noted that Nassar, in a letter he wrote last month that another judge read aloud at his previous sentencing hearing, still professed innocence and claimed he had been performing legitimate procedures that 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.
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 a father who tried to attack Nassar in court Friday before he was restrained by law enforcement officers.
While the criminal proceedings against Nassar have concluded, the fallout is just beginning at the institutions through which he accessed his victims.
Michigan State's president and athletic director have resigned, and the school faces lawsuits filed by more than 140 victims and parents, a number that could rise after dozens more girls and women asserting abuse by Nassar emerged in the past month. USA Gymnastics' chief executive resigned last year, and last month the organization's entire board of directors resigned. It is also facing scores of lawsuits filed by victims and parents.
The United States Olympic Committee has resisted calls from two U.S. senators for its chief executive to resign and has commissioned an independent investigation by an international law firm to assess any blame Olympic organizations deserve for Nassar's abuse. Victims have said the abuse occurred at the Karolyi ranch outside Houston — where Team USA women gymnasts trained — and at national and international competitions, including the Olympics.
Several members of Congress have called for congressional inquiries into how Nassar avoided prosecution for so long. Several victims 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 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.
"It is unfathomable to think about the number of victims who could have been spared," had authorities acted on prior complaints, Cunningham said Monday, moments before announcing Nassar's sentence. "But that is a discussion for a different time and a different place."