The Trial and Sentencing of Larry Nassar


Nassar during the sentencing (image courtesy of the NY Times)

Kaylee Dillon, Staff Writer

Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar was once the physician for the American gymnastics team. Now, he will spend the rest of his life in prison. He will serve from 40 to 175 years in prison, but will undoubtedly live out the rest of his days behind bars for the sexual assault of over 150 girls and women.

Nassar’s trial is truly a hallmark upon the history of women. Despite the looming shadows that allowed the assault of these women, the impact of his sentencing is clear. People like Nassar have no place amongst the rest of society, and certainly do not have the right to be lauded as a “must-see” physician. Of course, if we knew then what we know now, those hundreds of women would not have had to carry the burden of that monster’s actions.

“If we knew then what we know now” seems to be a phrase and feeling recurrent when thinking about Nassar’s trial. While the statement feels to ring so true, the dark layers that have been dug up through the process of the trial, and even before it, show that the statement is everything but true.

Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman speaks directly to Nassar during the trial (image courtesy of FOX News)

As women appeared in court over the seven day trial, they shared their stories, all with a common thread linking them together- Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse. For years, he manipulated young gymnasts under the guise that he was performing medical treatments on them, for which he was a renowned physician. Now the public understands that none of this was true, but alongside this is the scathing truth that there were witnesses to Nassar’s sexual abuse.

Whether it was the hushing from board members at USA Gymnastics or the investigations at Michigan State University collecting dust, people with the power to stop Nassar’s reign of terror ended up doing nothing to help these young women. While it’s easy to live with never forgiving Nassar for what he did, its much more conflicting to find forgiveness in those that enabled his predatory actions.

One thing is evident now- that people like Nassar, and people like the enablers of Nassar, have nowhere to hide in our world. They will be found and cornered, and will never again have enough power to put young girls in such a controlled state. The world ought to learn that women cannot be trapped or silenced any longer. If that infuriates you or scares you in any sense, it should. If it empowers you and makes you hopeful, it should. Women have been underestimated and preyed upon long before Nassar, but the exposure of his crimes is one of the many fatal blows to this monstrosity of society.

Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina had some harsh words for Nassar during his sentencing (image courtesy of NY Daily News)

The trial of Nassar was an exquisite display of empowered women. The efforts of the women telling their abuse stories and experiences, as well as the tireless and resilient Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who was justifiably relentless in her sentencing of Larry Nassar. She was seen tossing his letter pleading for the telling of his victim’s abuse to stop, having no feelings of pity for Nassar. She also read his letter aloud in which he placed the blame upon his victims, who he felt were pursuing him for attention. Judge Aquilina served justice to the hundreds of women victimized by Nassar, all the meanwhile empowering them by exposing the lies and true feelings of Larry Nassar to the public.

The sentencing on Wednesday, January 24th, as well as the entirety of the trial, was a true display of how these acts of utter inhumanity should be handled. The symbolism of a true monster like Nassar having to relive his crimes as his victims had in such a public way- to shame him, belittle him, is a righteous stroke in what will begin his lifelong punishment. Still, we must not forget the circumstances that allowed this to happen in the first place. People in power who are willing to turn a blind eye on monsters like Larry Nassar make for unstoppable, unforgiving consequences that we must always revoke.