Abuse victims return for Nassar's final sentencing hearing


By ED WHITE and DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, Mich. (AP) – Larry Nassar appeared Wednesday in a Michigan courtroom for the start of his third and final sentencing hearing, and a judge said that 265 people have come forward to say they were abused by the disgraced former gymnastics doctor.

That number included both the 150-plus victims who offered statements at a different hearing last week, as well as scores of new ones who are expected to speak over the next few days.

Nassar, who has already been sentenced on child-pornography charges and charges that he abused young women and girls while working at Michigan State University, faces another prison sentence for molesting gymnasts at an elite Michigan club run by an Olympic coach.

“You are most vile, disgusting creature I have ever met,” said Katherine Ebert, who was a gymnast from 5 to 18 and started seeing Nassar at 15. “There are black holes in my memory that come back as nightmares or flashbacks, not wanting to believe they’re true.”

Nassar sat at a table with his lawyers as accusers confronted him.

“You took advantage of my innocence and trust,” 17-year-old Jessica Thomashow said. “You were my doctor. Why? I ask myself that question all the time. What you did to me was twisted. You manipulated me and my entire family. How dare you.”

Judge Janice Cunningham has set aside several days for more than 60 women and girls who want to confront Nassar or have their statement read in the courtroom in Charlotte, a city outside Lansing.

The event could unfold much the same as last week’s proceedings in another county. That hearing ended with Nassar getting to 40 to 175 years in prison, a sentence that judge described as Nassar’s “death warrant.”

The case on Cunningham’s docket Wednesday in Eaton County centers on Nassar’s assaults at Twistars, a Lansing-area gymnastics club that was run by 2012 Olympic coach John Geddert. Nassar admits penetrating three girls with his hands when he was supposed to be treating them for injuries.

Annie Labrie said what Nassar did to her made her “skin crawl,” but every adult around her assured her he was the only option, and she hid the abuse from her parents. She said Nassar’s pedophilia was not an isolated incident, and gymnastics and gyms like Twistars have a “specific culture” that allows people…



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