Disgraced former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar 'assaulted in prison'
If there's one positive we can take away from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it's that more and more victims are standing up and making their voices heard, and pursuing the prosecution of their sexual abusers. Indeed, it feels like the revelations regarding the disgraced movie mogul were the crest of an awesome wave sweeping across the world. Finally, those in positions of power who have raped and harassed for years, even decades, with impunity, are being punished. One of the most prolific sex offenders to be sentenced in recent years is doctor Larry Nassar, who has allegedly been violently assaulted by fellow-prisoners.
Dr Nassar served as a doctor and an osteopathic physician at Michigan State University for the US national gymnastics team. Outwardly he was a paragon of respectability. Yet unbeknownst to the general public, Nassar was actually engaging in paedophilic acts with his young patients behind closed doors, using his authority to elude justice for many years. In 2017 he was accused of molesting more than 250 young women and one young man. Many of his victims included well-known Olympic gymnasts.
Nassar admitted to ten of the accusations, and as a result he was initially sentenced to 60 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. He was then ultimately ordered to serve between 40 to 175 years after he plead guilty to seven counts of the rape of minors. Nassar was sent to the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona, where he has been for the last six months.
However, according to court documents filed by Nassar's attorney in Ingham County circuit court, when prison authorities decided torelease him into the general prison population, Nassar was almost immediately assaulted by other prisoners.
Retired Bureau of Prisons employee Ralph Miller told The Detroit News that “Part of the mission statement of the Bureau of Prisons is to house inmates in facilities that are safe and this will be a priority, if it is determined that Nassar needs to be transferred".
He added: “If it is determined there is a threat to Nassar's safety ... he will be submitted for a transfer to another facility”.
Walt Shannon, president of American Federation of Government Employees, has stated that he was not aware of Nassar's injuries, but blamed a shortage of guards for the attack, claiming: The inmates watch our staffing levels ... If they’re going to do something … it is going to happen when staffing is low."
If Nassar's safety cannot be guaranteed then it is likely that he will be moved to a special housing unit. Sex offenders are often targets of violent assaults in prison, and so Nassar will probably be at a constant risk while behind bars.