“You have not taken gymnastics away from me,” Ms Raisman told Larry Nassar at a court in Michigan. “I love this sport, and that love is stronger than the evil that resides in you, in those who enabled you to hurt many people.”
The 23-year-old was the latest of around 80 women who have so far appeared at the Ingram County Circuit Court in Lansing to provide impact statements at Nassar’s sentencing hearing. A total of 140 are expected to do so.
“The tables have turned Larry. We are here, we have our voices, and we are not going anywhere. And now, Larry, it’s your turn to listen to me,” added Ms Raisman.
“There is no map that shows you the pathway to healing. Realising that you are a survivor of sexual abuse is really hard to put into words. I cannot adequately capture the level of disgust I feel when I think about how this happened.
“Larry, you abused the power and trust I and so many others placed in you, and I am not sure I will ever come to terms with how horribly you manipulated and violated me.”
She spoke, a day after Nassar, delivered a six-page letter to the court, saying it had become too difficult for him “mentally” to continue to listen to his victims. It was dismissed by the judge as not being worth “the paper it’s written on”
Under a plea deal, Nassar faces a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison, but the judge could set the minimum as high as 40 years. State prosecutors requested a maximum 125-year sentence, reflecting the number of women who at that time had come forward with allegations against Nassar.
Nassar also used to be a team doctor at the Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.
Earlier on Friday, another member of the 2012 US Olympic gymnastics team – known as the “Fierce Five” – said she refused to let Nassar’s abuse ruin her dreams.
“Even though I’m a victim, I do not and will not live my life as one,” Jordyn Wieber said, according to the Associated Press.
“I’m an Olympian despite being abused. I worked hard and managed to achieve my goal. But I want everyone, especially the media, to know that despite my athletic achievements I am one of over 140 women and survivors whose story is important.”
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who is running for governor, said he would provide “a full and complete review, report and recommendation” of Michigan State’s actions over Nassar, but only after the ex-doctor’s victims have had “their day in court”.
The university fired Nassar in 2016, as allegations against him stretching back years came to light.
“After watching many of these heartbreaking statements and reading accounts about them, we have concluded that only a review by your office can resolve the questions in a way that the victims, their families, and the public will deem satisfactory and that will help all those affected by Nassar’s horrible crimes to heal,” the university’s board said in a letter to Mr Schuette requesting his help.
The criminal cases against Nassar followed reports last year in The Indianapolis Star about how USA Gymnastics mishandled complaints about sexual misconduct involving the doctor and coaches. Women and girls said the stories inspired them to step forward with detailed allegations of abuse.
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