Video: Ex-Olympic doctor who molested girls admits in court
Victims of sexual abuse by disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar delivered gut-wrenching emotional testimony at a court hearing on Tuesday which could see him sentenced to prison for life.
The slight, bespectacled Nassar was in court in Lansing, Michigan, dressed in blue prison garb, as his victims took the witness stand.
Nassar, 54, held his head in his hands, looking down, as the young women and girls delivered their victim impact statements.
Some chose to be identified while others testified anonymously.
Former gymnast Jade Capua told the court her abuse by Nassar was a “life-changing experience that stole my innocence far too young.”
Nassar, who has been accused of sexually abusing more than 100 young girls, stole her “innocence, privacy, safety and trust,” Capua said.
“I’m really proud of you,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said after she completed her testimony.
“Your scar turned into a powerful voice,” Judge Aquilina told Capua. “Thank you for your bravery.”
Another former gymnast, Alexis Moore, said Nassar “betrayed my trust, took advantage of my youth and sexually abused me hundreds of times.”
“Are you remorseful for your actions and all the lives you have changed forever?” Moore asked, addressing Nassar directly.
According to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, as many as 88 women and girls are expected to deliver victim impact statements.
– Biles reveals abuse –
The sentencing hearing, which could last several days, comes a day after US gymnastics superstar Simone Biles revealed that she was among those sexually abused by Nassar.
“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” the 20-year-old reigning Olympic all-around champion and 10-time World Championship medallist said on Twitter.
Biles’s team-mates Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are also among the members of USA Gymnastics squads who have said they were sexually assaulted by Nassar.
Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison in December on child pornography charges.
He could be jailed for life following the current sentencing hearing on separate sexual assault charges to which he has already pleaded guilty.
Nassar has been accused of molesting more than 100 female athletes during the three decades he worked with USA Gymnastics and at Michigan State University.
His case was part of a wide-ranging scandal which forced the resignation of USA Gymnastics chief Steve Penny in March last year.
Penny was accused by victims of failing to quickly to notify authorities about abuse allegations.
USA Gymnastics adopted a new “safe sport policy” in response to the Nassar scandal that requires “mandatory reporting” of suspicions of sexual abuse.
A civil lawsuit has been filed on behalf of about 100 of Nassar’s victims. Their attorney, John Manly, has said the total number could be as high as 160.