Larry Nassar Sentenced to 175 Years in Prison: 'I Just Signed Your Death Warrant,' Judge Says

Larry Nassar has been sentenced to between 40 to 175 years in prison. The former USA Gymnastics doctor and Michigan State University doctor has pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County, Michigan, and has admitted to sexually assaulting and abusing young girls under the guise of providing medical treatment.

Nassar was also ordered to pay restitution to victims.

Prosecutors originally asked Judge Rosemarie Aquilina to sentence Nassar to 40 years to at least 125 years in prison.

"I just signed your death warrant," Aquilina said.

"You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again," she said to Nassar.

Nassar also has pleaded guilty to three charges of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County, Michigan, and already has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for federal child pornography charges.

"I wouldn't send my dogs to you, sir," Aquilina said in her scathing comments to Nassar before her sentencing. "I also want to be the voice on behalf of these survivors...There has to be a massive investigation as to why there was inaction, why there was silence."

"Justice requires more than what I can do on this bench," she said.

Aquilino scorned Nassar for not seeking help when she says he knew he had a problem years ago. "You played on everyone's vulnerability," she said. "I'm not vulnerable. Not to you."

Aquilino also read a letter Nassar wrote to the court last week, in which he denied sexual abuse and wrote, "I was so manipulated."

In a brief statement before sentencing, Nassar said that he would "carry the words" of his victims for the rest of his life.

On Wednesday, Judge Aquilina heard from a few more victims and then sent Nassar to prison on the seventh day of a remarkable hearing that has given the girls, young women and their parents a chance to confront Nassar in court.

As part of his plea deal, all of the victims who reported assaults to Michigan State Police were allowed to give victim impact statements at the sentencing. (Prosecutors said Wednesday that a total of 156 victim impact statements were read or delivered in court.)

As victim after victim shared horrific tales of assault and abuse, Aquilina has acted as both judge and therapist, offering empathy, comfort and advice to each individual.

"I wish my robe came with a magic wand so I can wave it over you and heal you," she said to one victim. "But that's fairy tales."

Aquilina said Nassar will "be in darkness the rest of his life." He faced a minimum prison term of 25 to 40 years on the molestation charges.

Among those testifying Wednesday was Rachael Denhollander, one of the first women to publicly identify herself as one of Nassar's young victims. Denhollander contacted Michigan State University police in 2016 after reading reports about how USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, mishandled complaints of sexual misconduct. Nassar worked at Michigan State and also was the national gymnastics squad's doctor.

"Larry, I can call what you did evil and wicked because it was," Denhollander said Wednesday.

"Thank god we had these journalists. And that they exposed this truth, and that they continue to cover this story. Thank god Rachael Denhollander made that first contact with the reporter. And decided to allow them to publish her name," Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis said before Nassar's sentencing on Wednesday.

Nassar's accusers said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them, often without explanation, while they were on a table seeking help for various injuries.

The accusers, many of whom were children, said they trusted Nassar to care for them properly, were in denial about what was happening or were afraid to speak up. He sometimes used a sheet or his body to block the view of any parent in the room.

Some of the biggest names in gymnastics (Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber) have said they were molested by Nassar.

Throughout the week of victim impact hearings, Aquilina has praised the victims who have appeared in her court since Jan. 16, calling them "sister survivors," while also assuring them that their perpetrator will pay.

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“For all those involved, I’m so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control,” Nassar told the court when he pleaded guilty in November. “We need to move forward in a sense of growth and healing and I pray [for] that.”

Many accused USA Gymnastics, which selects the national and Olympic teams, of covering up the scandal by waiting five weeks to alert the FBI to a gymnast's complaint, failing to notify Michigan State University that one of its doctors had been accused, and having Maroney sign a secrecy agreement as part of a settlement.