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Gymnastics: perpetuity for Larry Nassar after an extraordinary trial

Ⓒ AFP – JEFF KOWALSKY – | Former sports doctor Larry Nassar at his trial on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, USA

Former sports doctor Larry Nassar, accused of multiple sexual abuse of young gymnasts, will spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted after a landmark trial where victims delivered poignant testimonies of their lives broken.

“I have just signed your death warrant,” Justice Rosemarie Aquilina said, with a sentence ranging from 40 to 175 years in prison for seven counts. This sentence is in addition to a 60-year sentence for child pornography, another aspect of the case that shook the world of American gymnastics.

The judge thanked the successive “survivors” for testifying during this extraordinary trial held in Lansing, Michigan, North.

In total, the court has received nearly 160 testimonies of victims, some of the best known in the discipline, told the audience their ordeal and the difficulty to rebuild after being “manipulated”.

In a short statement, Larry Nassar apologized for the “pain, trauma, and emotional destruction” that he inflicted on his victims.

The doctor, considered a “miracle worker”, acted with impunity for nearly two decades, until the first revelations in 2016.

Ⓒ AFP – JEFF KOWALSKY – | Kaylee Lorincz (g) testifies at Larry Nassar trial, January 24, 2018 in Lansing, United States

The case brought down several heads in the American Gymnastics Federation, accused of being late in denouncing the actions of its chief medical officer. And the National Olympic Committee, where Nassar also officiated, is now in the line of fire.

The governing body of university sport, the NCAA, also opened Tuesday an investigation into Larry Nassar’s conduct in the University of Michigan Medical Team (MSU), while several complaints from gymnasts do not had suites.

Taylor Livingston, a gymnast, recounted her “daily fight” against the guilt of not revealing abuse to her father, who died last year.

– ‘In hell’ –

Ⓒ AFP – JEFF KOWALSKY – | Larry Nassar (c) at his trial, January 24, 2018 in Lansing, United States

“At your death, you will go to hell,” she said to the accused. “But before, you will pass in front of my father, who knows now what you did … And there, you will suffer”.

Another, Amy Labadie, claimed to have “lost all joie de vivre”.

The greatest names in contemporary American gymnastics have also reported having suffered, without protest, the abuses of the doctor when he pretended to administer medical care.

Dr. Nassar “took advantage of our passions and dreams,” said Aly Raisman, Olympic champion at the London and Rio Games, now 23 years old. She called for the launch of an independent inquiry “about what exactly happened, what went wrong, and how it can be avoided in the future”.

Ⓒ AFP – JEFF KOWALSKY – | Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, January 24, 2018 in Lansing, USA

“I thought training for the Olympics would be the hardest thing I would have to live in. But, in fact, the biggest test I’ve ever known is accepting that I’m a victim of Larry Nassar, “said teammate Jordyn Wieber, who decided to speak after the revelations of other Olympic medalists Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney.

“You manipulated me so that I think you were nice and you helped me while you sexually assaulted me again and again and again for your only twisted sexual pleasure,” Jamie Dantzscher, a doctor, said. medalist at the Sydney Games.

Larry Nassar had said he feared for his sanity if he was forced to listen to all these testimonies. Judge Aquilina replied in an indignant tone: “Spending four or five days listening to them is nothing compared to the hours of pleasure you took at their expense, destroying their lives.”

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