More than 98 women told stories of sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
Starting Tuesday, 98 women are expected to share their stories of sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar as part of his criminal sentencing. The testimonies are expected to take place throughout the next three days.
Nassar pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with victims as young as six years old. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal child pornography charges. More than 150 women have said they were abused by Nassar, who was the former USA Gymnastics doctor for nearly two decades.
Nassar sat in the witness stand so that the victims could address him directly. For many of the women, this marks the first and possibly only time they will have the opportunity to speak with him directly.
On Monday, Simone Biles came forward with her own account that she was abused by Nassar. She joins Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney as recent Olympians that said they were abused by him.
Here is what the victims said on Tuesday, according to reporters in the room. Matt Mencarini of the Lansing State Journal, Lauren Gibbons of Michigan Live, Clayton Cummins of WILX News, Kate Wells of Michigan Radio and John Barr of ESPN are among the reporters providing live updates on Twitter.
The stories shared by the women contain graphic details and mature subject matter.
Nassar pleaded guilty to abusing Stephens at his home when she was just six years old. As she began speaking, Nassar looked down and started to cover his eyes.
Stephens said that Nassar exposed himself to her in a dark boiler room. The abuse continued until she was 12 years old and he would pleasure himself in front of her. She said that he would rub his penis on her bare feet and put his finger in her vagina.
Stephens told Nassar that she told her father about her abuse and he came to believe her before her father committed suicide in 2016. Stephens asked the judge to sentence Nassar to jail for 40 to 125 years. Judge Rosemarie Aqulina told Stephens that the system failed her and so many young children. Aquilina asked Stephens if she was seeking restitution. Stephens replied that she does not want any money taken away from Nassar's children.
Thomashow is 17 years old, and her parents gave consent for her to speak publicly at the sentencing. Thomashow said she was 12 at the time of Nassar's abuse. "He touched the most innocent places on my body that day." she said. She also added that she did not realize that what she had experienced was sexual assault until she read the story in the Indy Star in September 2016. Thomashow also asked for Nassar to serve a sentence of 40 to 125 years.
Judge Aquilina says to Thomashow, "Nassar is going to break while you're healing."— Clayton Cummins (@ClaytonCummins) January 16, 2018
The next victim who spoke was a minor and wished to remain anonymous. She was abused when Nassar was allowed to return to work in 2014. The victim said that she and her family extend forgiveness to Nassar. Aquilina tells the third victim that Nassar's story "ends in prison."
Donna Markham, Mother of Chelsea Markham
Donna Markham spoke on behalf of her daughter, who was adopted in 1985. When Chelsea was 10 years old, she fell off the beam and injured her back. The family was referred to Nassar, who lived on the other side of Michigan. Chelsea was 12 years old when she told her mother that Nassar assaulted her during a treatment even as Donna was in the room. Chelsea told her mother that he "put his fingers inside me and they weren't gloved. Mom, he hurt me." Donna told Chelsea's coach, who said he didn't think it was possible because he had known Nassar for years. Donna said that Chelsea never fully recovered from the abuse and got into drugs. Chelsea took her own life in March 2009 at the age of 23.
"Every day, I miss her," Donna Markham said. "I miss her. And it all started with him."
"This was not my fault, it was the fault of Larry Nassar," she added.
Capua is 17 years old and agreed to publicly tell her story. She said that she and her family traveled from Naperville, Ill., to Michigan to get treatment from Nassar. Capua said that she often thinks about her horrifying experience with Nassar. She learned about the Indy Star report on Nassar from her English teacher and froze when he was referred to as the "Olympic doctor."
Nassar occasionally looked up at Capua during her statement. She said to him, "I am no longer broken by you."
Moore was nine years old when she first visited Nassar for treatment for a broken pelvis. Moore said that she was working on forgiveness toward Nassar but "will never forget what you have done."
Nassar wiped away tears during Moore's statement.
Cowan was treated by Nassar 10 years ago. She told Nassar that her whole life has changed since her realization that her treatment was abuse. She is now a mother of two and fears of her daughters getting hurt.
"I will educate my children about monsters like you and pray to God they will never experience pain like this," she said.
Cowan was the first woman at the sentencing who said she believes inaction by Michigan State and USA Gymnastics allowed for Nassar's abuse to take place. Michigan State allowed Nassar to see patients for 16 months while he was under criminal investigation in 2014 and 2015.
"I'd like to take a moment to comment to MSU's board of trustees and President Simon....it sickens me that for 16 months, you allowed children to see Larry Nassar under your guidance, while he was under criminal investigation," Cowan said.
'Where were you when we needed you?" Cowan asked of Michigan State.
Mark was treated by Nassar as a high school freshman in 1999. She was a soccer player at the time. She realized that she was abused after the story on Nassar was revealed by the Indy Star.
Bauman told Nassar that "The fact that I was sexually abused by you is something I'm still trying to wrap my head around."
Bauman asked Aquilina for Nassar to serve full time in prison as suggested by the attorney general because she believes that Nassar would still be abusing others, if he had not been caught. The judge told Bauman that she will honor the plea agreement, which means the lowest amount of prison time that Nassar will receive would be between 25 to 45 years. If she sentenced Nassar to more than 40 years, he could have withdrawn his plea.
Mahon said that she initially could not believe the sexual assault allegations against Nassar before realizing that it happened to her. She called Nassar "a master manipulator."
"If Nassar was charged two decades ago, it would of saved many of us from pain," Mahon said.
Moore was abused as a teenager. Moore said that she contemplated suicide after being abused by Nassar and that the trauma of her abuse made her feel worthless. Moore received her doctorate degree but did not attend her commencement because she felt that she "didn't deserve the praise." She also resigned from a job due to depression.
"Mr. Nassar, I feel worthless because of what you did to me...I want you to be remorseful. However, I don't believe you're capable of this kind of empathy," Moore said.
She told Nassar that he would no longer be called a doctor and instead known by his prison number. She says that she will no longer be known as a victim but instead as Dr. Moore.
Aquilina told Moore to turn around and look at the crowd in support of her and the need to feel worthy.
Siebert took the podium after initially wanting to have someone read her statement but instead changed her mind.
"I often wonder what the true number of victims is," Sibert said.
Hill was a divorced mother when she was abused by Nassar while seeking treatment for knee pain. She said that she often has contemplated suicide to "turn off the thoughts of him." She says that she continues to try and be strong for her children. As Hill broke down in tears, the judge told her that with suicide Nassar would win and not to allow that to happen.
The first victim after a short break asked for the cameras to be shut off when she told her story.
Cormier said that Nassar sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years old. She was a soccer player when she sought treatment from Nassar after his wife had recommended him. She was injured at her birthday party and was told by Nassar that she had a severe spinal fracture. Other doctors did not see a fracture and she now believes Nassar's assessment was a way for him to keep her as a patient. She stopped playing soccer under the belief that her body was more fragile than it was. As a result of Nassar's abuse, she said that she felt anxiety with male doctors.
"I don't believe you have changed or truly grasped the pain you have caused," Cormier said.
Rood-Bedford saw Nassar as a volleyball player at Michigan State. She mentioned that the team would refer to him as the "crotch doc." She said that Nassar would apply pressure to areas around her vagina but she recalled telling herself, "Don't be a baby" but also remembered "laying there wondering is this okay? This doesn't seem right?!" She remembered being on the table "frozen, still and mortified." She mentioned that Nassar would speak to her in a casual and routine voice as he abused her. Rood-Bedford said that she reported Nassar to an athletic trainer but did not want to proceed with a formal investigation.
"Please know my forgiveness toward you is sincere," she said. "Especially in the light...of the forgiveness that's been granted to me, that I should be called a child of God... What you've done...is not who God intended you to be."
Nassar was crying as she gave her testimony.
Soos was a figure skater when she was first abused by Nassar. She was abused by Nassar with family in the room. She said that she has nightmares "night after night" about what he did to her. Soos added that some of her relationships with family members were strained because of Nassar's abuse.
Soos also called out Michigan State for not taking action against Nassar.
Erickson was a former gymnast who got treatment from Nassar from 1999 to 2016.
"I want the nightmares of you coming into my room to go away," Erickson said.
Imrie was 12 years old when she suffered a tailbone injury and was treated by Nassar. She says that Nassar stuck his fingers inside her anus and she felt pain during the entire treatment with tears streaming down her face. Imrie's mother was in the room. Nassar requested a follow-up appointment to check on the injury and he repeated the abuse.
She is now a mother to four children and has battled depression. She said that she forgives Nassar because she does not want to carry around his abuse for the rest of her life.
The following victim wished to remain anonymous to the public but had the prosecutor show Nassar her name. She was eight years old when she first met Nassar and he still had not attended medical school. Nassar was a trainer at Great Lakes Gymnastics. She was first abused in 1992 an may be the oldest victim survivor to speak this week. She was part of a Michigan State study on flexibility when she was abused in his apartment and then it continued for several years.
“You took something from us that we will never get back," she said. "Our innocence. Our virginities. You were rewarded with prestigious roles. You went to the Olympics.”
"You are quite possibly the greatest perpetrator of sexual assault of all time," she added.
Christy Lemke-Akeo, Mother of Current Michigan State Gymnast Lindsey Lemke
Christy Lemka-Akeo read her daughter's impact statement. She said that Nassar started abusing her daughter when she was 10 years old and it happened almost daily. The abuse went on for years and "these girls had no idea this wasn’t a medical procedure."
Halicek was 15 years old when she sought out Nassar for treatment on a fractured spine. She was training to be a level-10 gymnast. Nassar abused her repeatedly but she trusted him to heal her for a healthy return to competition. Her parents were in the room when he abused her. She said that to this day, she does not feel safe.
Halicek also called out Michigan State and USA Gymnastics for the "sin of omission is just as bad as the sin itself."
The woman wished to remain anonymous and have the cameras shut off during her impact statement. She was a high school athlete at the time of her abuse.
She was 15 years old when she started to see Nassar for back pain treatment. She quit gymnastics and said “nothing can change what Larry Nassar did to me.”
A prosecutor read Randall’s statement. She was the woman who reported Nassar to the Meridian Township Police in 2004. After Nassar abused her, Randall told her mother and they went to get a rape kit. Police met with the family and Nassar told them it was a medical procedure and misunderstanding. Police did not request any charges against Nassar or submit a report for review.
"Over the years, I tried to convince myself that I was the only one, and that I had scared him enough by filing a police report," Randall said.
The judge said that she has respect for the police but they “missed this one” and Nassar “became a good liar.”
The first day concluded with statements from women who are overseas. The woman in the last video said that she was abused as a child and informed adults but it was never reported to the proper authorities.
This post will continue to be updated with the stories shared from the courtroom on Wednesday.