Judge: Victims of sports doc are ‘sister survivor warriors’

LANSING, Mich. — The judge overseeing the sentencing of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar said Monday that more than 120 girls and women who had given statements so far at the five-day hearing were “sister survivor warriors.”

“I want you to know that your face and the face of all of the sister survivor warriors — the whole army of you — I’ve heard your words,” Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said after a woman spoke in her Michigan courtroom. “Your sister survivors and you are going through incomprehensible lengths, emotions and soul-searching to put your words together, to publicly stop (the) defendant, to publicly stop predators, to make people listen.”

Nassar, 54, has admitted molesting athletes during medical treatment when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics on Monday announced the resignations of three key leaders — chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley — days after former gold medallists Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber said in court that Nassar had sexually assaulted them.

Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography crimes. Under a plea deal, he faces a minimum prison sentence of 25 to 40 years in the molestation case. The maximum term could be much higher.

“Larry, how many of us are there? Do you even know?” asked Clasina Syrboby, as she fought back tears while speaking for more than 20 minutes Monday. “You preyed on me, on us. You saw a way to take advantage of your position — the almighty and trusted gymnastics doctor. Shame on you Larry. Shame on you.”

She and other victims also continued their criticism of Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee for not doing enough to stop Nassar when initial complaints were made years ago. The sentencing hearing will resume Tuesday.

Emma Ann Miller, 15, said the school was still billing her mother for medical appointments in which Nassar molested Miller as recently as August 2016 — a week before he was fired.

 

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