Ex-USA Gymnastics Doc Sentenced To 175 Years In Prison For Abusing 160 Young Girls

| January 25 , 2018 , 12:20 IST

Disgraced long-time USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison after conviction in child pornography case, was on Wednesday sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for abusing young female girls, after 160 victims testified.

In a Michigan courtroom, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina announced the sentence after days of testimonies by 160 of his victims, and said: "I've signed your death warrant."

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The sentencing of 54-year-old Nassar was met with applaud as the victims cried and embraced.

Although Nassar submitted a guilty plea for 7 instances of first-degree sex assault, in a letter to the judge he claimed innocence and that the accusers were making fabricated claims to gain money and fame. In the letter, he claimed he was a good doctor who was manipulated into pleading guilty. Later questioned by the judge for his letter, Nassar maintained his earlier guilty plea.

Nassar, who served as the physician for the US gymnastics programme through four Olympic Games was accused by the victims of using medical treatments as an excuse to justify penetrating their bodies with his fingers. The victims described how Nassar won their trust with kind words and by giving them snacks that were banned by their coaches.

The accusers included famous Olympic medallists like Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, with Maroney describing Nassar as a "monster human being". Another victim said she was only 6 years old when Nassar began molesting her.

The prosecution and the judge emphasised the 'broader significance' of the sentencing as it came soon after the #MeToo campaign launched by Hollywood stars against sexual harassment.