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The nation watched in varying stages of horror, rage, sadness, and grief as the seven-day-long marathon sentencing against former U.S.A. Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar unfolded in Michigan, with survivors of Nassar’s sexual abuse recounting their experiences over his several decades of work with the national gymnastics team and other athletic organizations. More than 155 survivors have come forward to share their personal accounts of Nassar’s abuse, among them Olympic gymnasts and swimmers, as well as children of families who were friends with Nassar.

The Survivors

One such individual to have experienced Nassar’s abuse at a young age was Kyle Stephens, who gave a testimony on January 16th, 2018 describing how Nassar first began sexually abusing her when she was six years old in his Michigan home. Stephens shared in her testimony that she’d suffered depression, anxiety, eating disorders, other compulsive conditions, and suicidal thoughts as a result of Nassar’s years of abuse, and that she believed that the suicide of her father in 2016 was partly due to his guilt over originally not believing Stephens’ accusations of Nassar’s abuse when she was 12 years old. Stephens continued that she’d contacted Child Protective Services twice during the six years Nassar abused her, and that the first time he was arrested, it was on her charges.

Another survivor to share their story was Aly Raisman, a two-time Olympic gymnast for the U.S.A. team. Raisman’s testimony included descriptions of Nassar’s manipulations and grooming methods when she was a teenaged gymnast at her first competition in Australia. Raisman described how treatments with Nassar were “mandatory,” and that he’d report them to other trainers and organizers if they refused, which led to punishment. Raisman stated that one of Nassar’s manipulations was to explain that he was “tired” when he closed his eyes during the touching included in his treatments. Raisman also spoke of individuals in the U.S.A. Gymnastics organization that are believed to have been aware of the abuse and that also placed Nassar on advisory boards and committees to draft policies that “take the lead in athlete care.”

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Raisman’s teammates, McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, and Jordyn Weiber have come forward with their own accounts of assaults. Additionally, two more Olympians, Jamie Dantzcher and Simone Biles, also reported abuse by Nassar.

In December 2016 Maroney filed a lawsuit against U.S.A. Gymnastics and Larry Nassar, revealing that she’d signed a confidential nondisclosure agreement preventing her from speaking out about the abuse he was being accused of lest she be fined $100,000. The U.S.A. Gymnastics made a statement on January 16th, 2018 that they would seek no monies from Maroney for giving her victim impact statement, nor any other victim who came forward.

His Sentencing

On January 24th, 2018, Nassar received his sentencing from Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, which is 40 to 175 years in prison for pleading guilty to sexual abuse of seven girls. Nassar had already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography convictions.

More information on Nassar’s sentencing and Judge Aquilina’s statement can be found here at CNN’s website, as well as Time magazine’s website. Organizations and resources for sexual abuse, harassment, and assault survivors include the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), Stop it Now!, National Sexual Assault Hotline, and End Rape on Campus (EROC).

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