Larry Nassar to be sentenced for third time on Monday, now 265 say they were abused

CHARLOTTE, MICH. - On Monday, for the third and final time, disgraced former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar will be sentenced to decades in prison. 

The Michigan Attorney General's Office, which prosecuted Nassar, said on Friday that 265 women and girls now have reported abuse to law enforcement. 

His sentencing hearing here in Eaton County, on three sexual assault charges, began on Wednesday and has included victim-impact statements from more than 60 women and girls who say they were abused. Including his seven-day sentencing in Ingham County, about 200 women and girls have given statements.

The final two victim-impact statements of the Eaton County hearing came from two of the most vocal and visible faces among those who say they were abused. 

Larissa Boyce, who says she raised concerns about Nassar to MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages in 1997, called on Nassar, when he has a chance to speak before he's sentenced, to say who knew about his abuses and looked the other way.

Boyce addressed the media, both in the courtroom and following from elsewhere, and asked that it not stop covering the issue when the impact statements end.

Nassar's Ingham County sentencing drew international attention and she asked those who heard the statements from the victims to keep paying attention.

"Don't forget me," she said. "Don't forget our stories."

Boyce said those who protected Nassar and enabled him still have the chance to stand up and redeem their mistakes by doing the right thing now. She said the women and girls who have given impact statements have started a movement. 

"Together we are a strong army that is changing the world for the better," she said.

When she was done speaking, Boyce hugged Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis, the lead prosecutor in the case. Then she hugged Rachael Denhollander. 

Denhollander, the first woman to publicly say Nassar abused her, gave the final impact statement here in Eaton County, just as she did last week in Ingham County, where Nassar pleaded guilty to abusing Denhollander in 2000. 

Denhollander, who was abused when she was 15, described her abuse and how the trauma and nightmares from it became intertwined in the joys of her life. 

Just as she did in Ingham County, her statement to Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham included the same question asked at several points: How much is a little girl worth?

"And may the rest of the world begin to live out that answer as well," she said.

Nassar is expected to be sentenced in Eaton County on Monday. It will be his third sentencing since the start of December.

This time it will be on three first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges related to sexual assaults of three girls at Twistars gymnastics club in Dimondale. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he faces a minimum sentence between 25 and 40 years in prison, and a maximum sentence of up to life. 

He will be sentenced by Eaton County Circuit Court Judge Janice Cunningham.

In December, he was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on three child pornography charges. 

Last week, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in state prison on seven sexual assault charges in Ingham County. 

Nassar, who is 54, must serve his federal sentence before he can serve any time on his state sentences, meaning it is unlikely he will serve time in the Michigan corrections system.

An Indianapolis Star investigation of USA Gymnastics, begun in 2016, uncovered widespread sexual abuse of athletes by coaches and others and failures to alert authorities. The IndyStar, part of the USA TODAY Network, revealed the first allegations of abuse by Nassar in September 2016. A few days later, MSU fired him.

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© 2018 Lansing State Journal


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