For the fourth straight day Friday, former USA Gymnastic doctor Larry Nassar was confronted at his sentencing hearing with statements from women he sexually abused under the guise of treatment. One of the victims who spoke Friday was six-time Olympic medalist, Aly Raisman, who delivered a powerful 13-minute missive on how Nassar hurt her and how USAG and the United State Olympic Committee enabled him over decades of abuse.
“Larry, you do realize now that we, the women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time, are now a force, and you are nothing,” she said. “The tables have turned, Larry. We are here, we have our voices, and we are not going anywhere.”
Raisman had originally planned to have her statement read in court, out of fear it would be painful to face Nassar in person, but she said she decided to attend in person after hearing other victims’ statements.
On Friday, Raisman criticized Nassar for his complaint to the judge in the case that the victims’ statements were difficult for him to endure.
“You are pathetic to think that anyone would have sympathy for you,” she said, glaring at Nassar. “You think this is hard for you? Imagine how all of us feel. Imagine how it feels to be an innocent teenager in a foreign country. I don’t want you to be there, but I don’t have a choice.”
What made Raisman’s statement particularly powerful was her focus not only on Nassar but also on the institutions that employed him over the years and failed to act on repeated accusations against him.
“If over these many years just one adult listened and had the courage and character to act, this tragedy could have been avoided. I, and so many others, would never have met you,” she said. “Over those 30 years, when survivors came forward adult after adult, many in positions of authority, protected you.”
“To believe in the future of gymnastics is to believe in change, but how are we to believe in change when these organizations aren’t even willing to acknowledge the problem?” she continued. “It’s easy to put out statements saying how athlete care is the highest priority, but they’ve been saying that for years, and all the while this nightmare was happening.”
When the victim statements wrap up next week, Nassar will be sentenced to at least 25 years in state prison as part of a plea deal he entered last fall. The former doctor already has been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges. He has been accused of sexual abuse my more than 150 women, including Olympians Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney.
You can watch Raisman’s entire stirring testimony right here:
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 19, 2018