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Former Team USA Gymnastics Doctor Sentenced to 60 Years for Abuse

Libby Birk

12/07/2017

A federal judge sentenced disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to 60 years in prison for possessing thousands of images of child pornography, according to the Lansing State Journal and other outlets.

U.S. District Judge Janet Neff announced the sentence, which is only the first of three prison terms being imposed on Nassar for child porn or sexual assault charges. The child pornography charges emerged when Michigan State University launched a sexual assault investigation in August 2016 after former gymnast Rachael Denhollander accused him of abusing her as a teen.

In July, Nassar pleaded guilty to three child pornography charges, ABC News reported. In his plea deal, the minimum recommended prison sentence was initially 27 years, but prosecutors recently asked the court to give him 60.

“I tried to improve myself. I lost everything because of this … I chose wrongly,” he told the court on Thursday, according to the Detroit News. “I really tried to be a good person. I really tried to help people.”

Nassar's attorneys, Matt Newburg and Shannon Smith, spoke to reporters, with Newburg saying Nassar is “devastated” by the sentencing.

“I definitely believe he’s remorseful,” Smith said. “I have no doubt about that.”

Gymnast McKayla Maroney, who accused Nassar of sexual abuse in October, gave a victim impact statement to the judge, detailing the abuse she allegedly suffered at Nassar’s hands. She requested the maximum sentence for Nassar in her letter and was spotted entering the courtroom Thursday morning.

“He abused my trust, abused my body and left scars on my psyche that may never heal,” Maroney told the court in her letter. “Larry Nassar deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”

The sentencing comes shrotly after Nassar pleaded guilty to a total of 10 criminal sexual conduct charges in a pair of Michigan counties as part of a plea deal. He is scheduled to be sentenced for those counts in January 2018.

One week earlier, Nassar pleaded guilty to seven criminal sexual conduct charges in Ingham County Circuit Court. He entered the guilty plea in exchange for assurances that he would face no more charges involving dozens of other victims, The Detroit News reported at the time. He will be sentenced on January 12 and is expected to face at least 25 years in prison.

Photo credit: Getty / Jeff Kowalsky

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