Sexual abuse victim confronts disgraced US sports doctor in court
Larry Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography offences.
A victim of disgraced former Michigan sports doctor Larry Nassar has told a sentencing hearing about the sexual abuse he inflicted on her as a child – and warned him that “little girls don’t stay little forever”.
Kyle Stephens was the first of nearly 100 women and girls who will be allowed to speak or have their statements read during the extraordinary four-day hearing in Lansing, Michigan.
Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting females at his Michigan State University office, at his home and at a Lansing-area gymnastics club. He also worked for Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.
“I testified to let the world know that you are a repulsive liar,” Ms Stephens said to Nassar, 54, who bowed his head with his eyes closed as she and others spoke.
She told the court Nassar repeatedly abused her from the age of six until the age of 12 during family visits to his home in Holt, near Lansing. She said Nassar later denied this, and her parents believed him.
She told him: “Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don’t stay little forever.
“They grow into strong women that … destroy your world.”
Another statement came from Donna Markham, who told the court how her daughter Chelsey committed suicide in 2009, years after Nassar sexually abused her during a medical examination.
“It all started with him,” she said, describing her daughter’s downward spiral into drugs.
Ingham county circuit judge Rosemarie Aquilina is expected to order a sentence on Friday.
The Michigan attorney general’s office is seeking 40 to 125 years in prison for Nassar. The maximum represents a year for each of the 125 girls and women who filed reports of abuse with campus police.
He has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography offences.
Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles said she was among the athletes sexually abused by Nassar.
Another gold medallist, Aly Raisman, tweeted that she would not attend the sentencing because it is too traumatic for her.
She said: “My impact letter will be read in court in front of Nassar. I support the brave survivors. We are all in this together.”
Olympians McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas also have said they were among Nassar’s victims when they were teenagers.
In November, he admitted to abusing 10 girls, mostly under the guise of treatment, between 1998 and 2015.
As part of plea deals in two adjacent Michigan counties, he said his conduct had no legitimate medical purpose and that he did not have the girls’ consent.
Nassar is scheduled to be sentenced in Eaton County in two weeks.