Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar pleads guilty to sex charges
A day after Gabby Douglas added her name to the list of star gymnasts who say they were molested by Dr. Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges and will face at least 25 years in prison.
The 54-year-old Nassar, who also served as a sports doctor for Michigan State University and an elite gymnastics club, faces additional prosecution in another criminal case and is awaiting sentencing in federal court on child pornography charges.
More than 125 women and girls have accused him of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits.
“For all those involved I’m so horribly sorry,” Nassar said. “This is a match that turned into a forest fire, out of control. I pray the rosary every day for forgiveness. I want them to heal ... I just want healing. It’s time.”
Though his plea deal with prosecutors, entered in a packed Michigan courtroom Wednesday, calls for a 25-year minimum, the judge could raise that to as much as 40 years.
Through testimony and court filings, Nassar’s victims have told of seeking treatment for sport injuries only to have him molest them with his hands. The incidents took place in various locations, including a university clinic and sporting events.
Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney had previously said they were victimized. On Tuesday, Douglas posted an accusation on Instagram, writing: “I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful.”
USA Gymnastics, which has been criticized for mishandling sexual abuse complaints involving Nassar and coaches nationwide, posted a statement Wednesday morning.
“We admire the strength shown by Gabby and her teammates in speaking out publicly to hold a predator accountable,” the organization wrote. “The conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused is appalling, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career.”
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9:05 a.m.: This article was updated throughout with staff reporting.
This article was originally published at 7:35 a.m.
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