Gymnastic Justice

Larry Nassar was born August 16, 1963. He was convicted as a serial child molester in January 2018. He was the coach of the USA Gymnastics National Team for 18 years and was an Osteopathic Physician, a doctor who works with joints, muscles, and the spine, at Michigan State University for 11 years. He occasionally helped with sports injuries. Often times when he would assault his patients he would say it was all part of the treatment.

In 2015, he was fired from coaching gymnastics when they learned of athlete concerns. A year later in 2016, he was mentioned in the magazine The Indianapolis Star. They revealed that two former gymnasts claimed they had been sexually assaulted by Nassar. When Michigan State University heard of this, they suspended him from medical practice for a month. When other patients reported similar acts, he was fired.

After being fired, three former gymnasts were interviewed on 60 minutes, they said that Nassar had sexually abused them and referred to his practices as an, “emotionally abusive environment.”  The nationals team training camps gave Nassar an opportunity to take advantage of the gymnasts and made them afraid to speak up about the abuse. Many gymnasts would talk about their abuse at practice after Nassar was removed. Olympic medalist, Simone Biles, overhead these conversations and came forward about the things that Nassar did to her. Many gymnasts started using the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter.

One of the three gymnasts interviewed was Olympic Gold Medalist, McKayla Maroney, she filed a lawsuit against Nassar, The United States Olympic Committee, and USA Gymnastics. Maroney accused USA Gymnastics for covering up the abuse by paying her $125 million from when she was 13 until she retired in 2016. Maroney’s lawyer referred to Nassar as a, “pedophile doctor.” Rachael Denhollander, former gymnast,  said that she was sexually abused on five different occasions, starting when she was 15. Gymnast, Aly Raisman, says that no form of punishment will justify what he did to her.

In November of 2016, Nassar was convicted of sexual abuse of several different children from 1998 through 2015. Ultimately, he was charged with 22 counts of first-degree sexual conduct with minors as young as six years old. He was arrested in December of  2016 when the FBI found more than 37,000 images of child pornography in his home and several videos of him performing sexual acts. When he found out that the FBI had seen the images and the videos, he destroyed them.

On July 11, 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, possession of numerous pornographic images, and tampering with evidence. Six months later in December, he was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison. As of January 18, 2018, 135 women had accused Nassar of seuxal assault, by the end of the week, the number of women increased to 150. As the numbers got higher, Ingham County Circuit Court sentenced him up to 175 years in prison for the sexual assaults of over 150 minors. The judge made it clear that Nassar would be locked up for the rest of his life, with no intention of ever freeing him. 

With over 150 lawsuits filed against Nassar, the entire 18 member USA Gymnastics board have put in their resignations. MSU (Michigan State University) President, Lou Ann Simon, resigned along with several other MSU members. An investigation is still ongoing to find all the women that were victimized by Nassar, and to figure out why he was able to get away with the sexaul abuse of women for years. Another investigation is going to help figure out what triggered him. They found that he has known of his sexual urges since he was a young boy, but declined medicine to help. What was also found was the similarities between Nassar’s case and one at Penn State University involving Jerry Sandusky. In each case, similar mistakes were made when law enforcement “turned the other way” or tried to hide the urges of a child molester instead of immediately contacting police.   

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Larry Nassar in Court

As of today, Nassar will face another judge to plead against the 57 other women who said that they too, were also sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar. Nassar’s lawyer, Shannon Smith, said that she doubts any of his accusers were assaulted at all. She also says that the amount of victims coming forward in the past years is “extreme.” “I think Larry Nassar comes off as a really great person. There is no doubt he did a lot of good for a lot of his patients,” she told to WWJ TV. Reports of assault against Nassar have been on record going back as far as 2014, though the case started in 2015.

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