Larry Nassar attacked in court after judge refuses request from victim's father
Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor, has plead guilty to a plethora of charges of sexual assault against young women and girls, which included several Olympic athletes. In addition to molesting young women under the guise of medical treatment, he was charged with possession of child pornography, which brings his sentencing up to 175 years in prison. After this verdict was given, the witnesses stood up to applaud.
During an intensely emotional seven-day hearing, Judge Rosemarie Aqualina gave 169 survivors and family members the opportunity to confront the accused face-to-face. "Little girls don’t stay little forever," said Kyle Stephens in her statement. "They turn into strong women that return to destroy your world."
While justice is being served, the victims and their loved ones still have to live with the trauma, frustration and anger that Nassar's actions have produced. A powerful example of this is an altercation that occurred in a Michigan courtroom on Friday, in which one father attempted to attack Nassar during the hearing.
Two of Randal Margraves' daughters testified about the abuse they suffered at Nassar's hands, with a third daughter also reported to have experienced mistreatment. Lauren and Madison Margraves had finished reading their victim statements at the Eaton County court only moments before, with their father asking the judge:
"I would ask you, as part of the sentencing to grant me 5 minutes in a locked room with this demon; would you give me one minute?"
Judge Janice Cunningham, of course, declined this, at which point the father ran at the defendant. Before he could reach him he was restrained and handcuffed by officers. "One minute!" He asked the officers "What if this had happened to you?" Audible crying in the courtroom as Nassar was taken away, following the incident, which you can watch in the tweet below:
Lead Prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis advised the affected families to "use your words", saying “I understand Mr. Margraves’ frustration but you cannot do this. This is not helping your children.”
Judge Cunningham said that while she could not imagine the father's pain, he must hold back as "we cannot react by using physical violence".
In addition to the accusations leveled at the doctor himself, numerous victims have pointed the finger at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where Nassar worked, claiming that they failed to investigate complaints previously.
On Thursday, the police department in Meridian, Michigan, apologized publicly to one victim for declining to press charges against Nassar in 2004 when she reported that he abused her. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Olympic officials did not intervene after being told in 2015 that USA Gymnastics had uncovered possible abuse by Nassar.
In response, the USA Gymnastics’ board of directors agreed to a demand by the U.S. Olympic Committee that they all resign in the wake of this sentencing, as did the president and athletic director of Michigan State.