A day after former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting gymnasts and other athletes, some of his victims appeared on network morning shows Thursday, showing little sympathy for their attacker’s fate.
“He deserves to suffer,” Aly Raisman, an Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. gymnast, said on NBC’s “Today” show. “It’s disgusting what happened.”
Nassar pleaded guilty to assaulting seven women, but more than 160 accusers — including Raisman and gold medalists Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney — delivered statements at the weeklong sentencing hearing, often describing their abuse in graphic detail.
“It was empowering and it was beautiful to see so many women reclaiming their voice,” Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast, said on “CBS This Morning.” “But it was also incredibly heartbreaking because the vast majority of us did not need to be there.”
Some of the women said Nassar, who for years worked as the top sports doctor for USA Gymnastics, penetrated them with his ungloved hands while their parents were in the room.
Mattie Larson, a former national gymnastics champion and Olympic hopeful, was one of them.
“No matter what Larry was supposed to be treating on me over the years, usually my ankles or my knees, his fingers always seemed to find their way inside of me,” Larson said to the courtroom on Tuesday before addressing the disgraced former doctor directly.
“You took complete advantage of my innocence,” Larson said. ”Your kindness was simply a ploy to molest me every chance you got. I can’t even put into words how much I f***ing hate you.”
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday, Larson said the chance to confront Nassar in court was cathartic.
“It felt like I was beginning to get my power back,” Larson said.
Denhollander, who was the first to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual misconduct, was the last victim to speak in court. After delivering her statement on Wednesday, she shot a look at Nassar.
“I wanted him to know that it was done,” Denhollander said on “CBS This Morning.” “It was finished.”
Nassar spoke briefly at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, apologizing to his victims and saying their emotional testimony had left him shaken.
“There are no words that can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred,” Nassar said. “An acceptable apology to all of you is impossible to write and convey. I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
Before announcing her sentence, Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina delivered an impassioned denunciation of Nassar on behalf of his victims.
“It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again,” Aquilina said, adding: “I just signed your death warrant.”
The judge also addressed the accusers in attendance at the hearing.
“Leave your pain here,” she said. “And go out and do your magnificent things.”
Raisman offered a similar message.
“We really are an army of survivors,” she said. “And this is just the beginning for us.”
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