Trial of US Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar

Sexual assault victims turn their pain into power.


Photo credit to NBC News.

“For the record, go to hell,” gymnastics coach, Thomas Brennan, said to serial sexual assaulter Larry Nassar in court on January 17, revealing his anguish over sending young gymnasts into the predator’s hands for years, completely unaware of what Nassar was really doing. Brennan stood by one of Nassar’s victims, Gwen Anderson, as she took the stand to describe her assault. This came after days of powerful testimonies from some of the women assaulted by Nassar during his years as a USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor.

A picture of Judge Rosemarie Aquilina in court. Photo credit to the NY Daily News.

Over 140 women have revealed that they were sexually assaulted by Nassar, including gold medalists Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas. They all described the years of sexual assault they suffered at his hands, some girls saying that he first hurt them at six years old. Many of the women revealed they suffered from depression as a result and blamed themselves for what happened. In one of the most heartbreaking testimonies, Donna Markham testified that her daughter Chelsey started abusing drugs to cope with her assault and eventually committed suicide at the age of 23. Emotion could be felt all throughout the courtroom as the mother told her tragic story.

Another huge controversy within the trial is USA Gymnastics’ involvement. Many of the gymnasts, including Olympic champion McKayla Maroney, have said that USAG and MSU covered up Nassar’s crimes, and knew about his abuse for years. While both Michigan State and USA Gymnastics have dismissed these claims as untrue, the entire board at USAG has resigned or will resign in the coming days. Sophomore Cailee Formon commented on the possible coverup, “I think that USA Gymnastics definitely had involvement in this case, and I’m glad they’re being held accountable.” They also revealed that they’ll be cutting ties with the famed Karolyi Ranch training center after Simone Biles said that it “breaks [her] heart” to have to return to the place she was abused.

Larry Nassar sobs in court as his victims testify against him in court. Photo credit to CNN.

On January 24, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced him 40 to 175 years in prison, not including his 60 years for child pornography charges. After throwing out a letter in which he wrote that hearing the testimonies are hard for him, Aquilina told Nassar that she “signed his death warrant.” He cried in court during the sentencing, which received eye rolls from some of his victims.

As the trial wraps up, it shows that when people use their voices and stand up for themselves, justice will be served. As Kyle Stephens, victim of Larry Nassar, said in court, “Little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.”