Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, already facing a lifetime in prison on sex abuse and child porn charges, will be back in court on Wednesday for his final sentencing, with 57 victims set to testify.
Earlier this month, the 54-year-old Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for abusing girls at his Michigan State University clinic.
At that hearing in Lansing, Michigan – which was related to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct – more than 150 women testified about Nassar’s sexual abuse of patients over the course of several decades, under the guise of medical treatment.
Now, Nassar is being sentenced in a court in Charlotte, Michigan on three additional counts to which he has pleaded guilty, for abusing young athletes at the Twistars gymnastics training facility. Prosecutors are asking for 40 to 125 years in prison.
Nassar also has been sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography possession charges. Prosecutors said additional women now have come forward to provide their accounts of Nassar’s abuse. “The group of speakers will be a combination of survivors who previously spoke and new speakers,” Michigan state Attorney General spokeswoman Andrea Bitely said.
Nassar’s victims have offered emotional and personal accounts of the pain he caused them, and searing accusations against officials in amateur athletics and at the university, asking why nothing was done sooner to stop him.
On Capitol Hill this week, US lawmakers are poised to pass a bipartisan bill mandating reporting of all sexual assault allegations in amateur sports. Republican Senator Susan Collins, a bill co-sponsor, told a news conference the bill would end “a system where allegations of sexual abuse were far too often ignored or swept under the rug.”
The US Olympic Committee has promised an independent probe of its own actions and those of USA Gymnastics, whose entire board has pledged to resign. MSU’s president and athletic director have resigned, and investigations of the university are being conducted by the state attorney general and the NCAA, a body that oversees US collegiate sports.
(With inputs from AFP)