54-year-old Larry Nassar has plead guilty to more accusations of sexual misconduct with minors in a highly publicized November 29 hearing in Michigan. Nassar accepted three more of the charges of first degree sexual conduct with children under the age of 16, including one charge involving a child younger than 13 years old. Nassar, the team doctor for the American Olympic gymnastics team for many years, had already plead guilty to abusing seven girls a week prior, and had made a deal that would put him in prison for at least 25 years.
At the November 29 trial, when Nassar was pressed on whether or not he had inserted an unprotected finger into the victims, he said “yes” with a sigh. Nassar was very quiet during this second hearing. Sentencing for these additional charges, on top of the 25 years already handed down, will occur some time near the end of January 2018.
In the November 22 trial, Nassar admitted to similar misconduct with several members of the gymnastics team, usually veiled by the encounters being of the nature of a medical exam. The acts of abuse spanned from 1998 to 2015, when he was quietly dismissed by USA Gymnastics. Nassar, while pleading guilty at that initial hearing, expressed his desire to move on and to help his victims begin the healing process. Rosemarie Aquilina, the judge presiding over that case, responded harshly on behalf of the victims, saying that it would take some of them years to heal “while you spend your lifetime behind bars thinking about what you did in taking away their childhood.”
The case against Nassar began to be built when Rachel Denhollander came forward to the Indianapolis Star over a year ago, detailing allegations of sexual misconduct by Nassar. In court, Denhollander detailed in the initial court hearing how, beginning in the year 2000, when she was 15 years old, Nassar rubbed her sexual organs and inserted his finger while making it seem the actions were part of a medical treatment. Denhollander says Nassar went as far as groping her breasts at one point. Since Denhollander came forward, over a hundred gymnasts have since followed suit. Nassar initially tried to continue the story that his practices were part of medical procedures, but he began pleading guilty later to charges such as possession of child pornography. Even big names in USA Gymnastics such as McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman put their names in the fight against Nassar.. The public has also since condemned USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for knowing about complaints about Nassar and not doing enough about addressing them.