As of Jan. 31, more than 265 people have spoken out against Larry Nassar, accusing him of sexual abuse. Nassar is a former doctor for USA Gymnastics and sports medicine physician at Michigan State University. He has been sentenced 40 to 175 years in prison on criminal sexual conduct charges. He is also serving a federal sentence of 60 years for possession of child pornography.
In the summer of 2016, Rachael Denhollander broke her silence about the sexual abuse and from there, the claims spread like wildfire as many more patients began to speak up. Throughout the first trial, more than 150 women accused Nassar of sexual assault. This number has nearly doubled since the highly publicized hearing recently.
Among Nassar’s patients are Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, both U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic gold medalists. Biles and Raisman were a part of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics final five in the 2016 Olympics, where they brought home nine medals for the United States.
“When you’re training for a sport, you become pretty close with your doctor or trainer,” Erin Anzideo, HR major and field hockey player for Cabrini, said. “They are one of the people you are one-on-one with every day and know you very well. It’s unimaginable what those women went through and I’m glad that most the women are working to overcome this tragedy and help each other through the hard times.”
Biles and Raisman, along with many of their teammates, were molested by Nassar for years. The two women have decided to not let this traumatic experience hold them back. They are instead empowering women by telling their stories and connecting with the #MeToo movement.
In an interview with CNN, Biles said, “I think it’s very inspiring and very empowering, especially for other girls who have gone through these situations, to realize it’s not the end of the world if you speak out and there will be people in your corner supporting you no matter what.”
Raisman and Biles are taking to Twitter to spread their messages of positivity and reassurance. They want women to know that it is never wrong to speak up because violence is never okay.
At the sentencing, Aly Raisman addressed her abuser saying, “Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice. Well, you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice, and I am only beginning to just use them.”
Judge Aquilina read from Larry Nassar’s letter submitted to the court: “I was a good doctor because my treatments worked and those patients who are now speaking out are the same ones that praised and came back…Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
After Judge Aquilina read Nassar’s letter to the court, she tossed it aside and told Nassar, “I just signed your death warrant.”
Larry Nassar began his third and final hearing on Jan. 31, where many more victims will take the stand and tell their story of abuse in front of their abuser. He will be sentenced after all the victims speak. The plea agreement states the minimum sentencing range would be 25 to 40 years for each of the counts, on top of his previous convictions.
“It’s so awful to think about what happened to all those women,” Danielle Jackson, a cheerleader for Cabrini, said. “They were just trying to better themselves and do the sport they love and were brutally taken advantage of by their doctor. He deserves everything that’s coming to him.”