Ex-gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar loses final appeal in sexual assault scandal

17 June 2022, 14:34

Larry Nassar
Larry Nassar. Picture: PA

Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting gymnasts and other athletes with his hands under the guise of medical treatment for hip and leg injuries.

Michigan Supreme Court has rejected a final appeal from sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to decades in prison for sexually assaulting gymnasts including Olympic medallists.

The court declined to take the case. Lawyers for Nassar said he was treated unfairly in 2018 and deserved a new hearing, based on remarks by a judge who called him a “monster” who would “wither” in prison like the wicked witch in The Wizard Of Oz.

“I just signed your death warrant,” Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said of Nassar’s 40-year sentence.

More than 150 victims spoke or submitted statements during an extraordinary seven-day hearing in Judge Aquilina’s court.

Title IX Campus Sexual Assault
Gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols during a Senate Judiciary hearing (Saul Loeb/AP)

Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting gymnasts and other athletes with his hands under the guise of medical treatment for hip and leg injuries.

He worked at Michigan State University and at Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, travelling the world with the elites of the sport.

“Our constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment,” the judge said. “If it did, I have to say I might allow what he did to all of these beautiful souls – these young women in their childhood – I would allow someone or many people to do to him what he did to others.”

Nassar subsequently received another 40-year sentence in a separate case in a neighbouring county.

He is in federal prison for child pornography crimes in a different case that grew out of the same investigation. The sentences effectively mean Nassar, 58, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Simone Biles
Simone Biles (Mike Egerton/PA)

The repercussions continue from the scandal. More than 100 women, including Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles, are collectively seeking more than a billion dollars from the federal government for the FBI’s failure to stop Nassar when agents became aware of allegations against him in 2015.

He was arrested by Michigan State University police in 2016, more than a year later.

Michigan State, which was accused of missing chances over many years to stop Nassar, agreed to pay 500 million dollars to more than 300 women and girls who were assaulted by him.

USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee made a 380 million dollar settlement.

By Press Association

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