Nearly 100 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, which started on Tuesday, are expected to take place throughout the week.
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 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 to him directly.
On Monday, away from the courtroom, Simone Biles came forward with her own account of abuse by Nassar. She joins Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney as recent Olympians who said they were abused by him. On Tuesday, Kyle Stephens was among those who emotionally confronted Nassar by recounting her first case of abuse when she was just six years old.
Here is what the victims said on Wednesday, 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.
Gina Nichols, Mother of World Championship Medalist Maggie Nichols
Gina Nichols was the first woman to speak on Wednesday when she delivered the impact statement on behalf of her daughter Maggie, who was "Athlete A" and the first first to report sexual abuse by Nassar to USA Gymnastics in 2015. Nichols was 15 years old at the time and was treated by Nassar for a back injury. Last week, Nichols criticized USA Gymnastics for not responding faster or doing enough to stop him from assaulting more young women. USA Gymnastics responded by saying it hired a private investigator and interviewed Nichols as well as a second gymnast before concluding that the organization did not have "a reasonable suspicion that sexual abuse had occurred." It was not until Olympians Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney reported abuse by Nassar to USA Gymnastics that the governing body decided to call the FBI—five weeks after Nichols' initial report.
Kerry Perry, the CEO of USA Gymnastics, was in the courtroom on Wednesday morning after attending Tuesday's hearing. At one point Gina Nichols turned to address Perry and said, "Shame on MSU, USAG and the USOC."
Nichols' mother broke down into tears when she read Maggie's statement.
"USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic committee did not provide a safe place for us to train," Gina Nichols read. "I've come to the realization now that my voice can be heard."
Gina Nichols directly addressed Nassar and called him "not a real doctor" but a pedophile and "the very best liar."
"A real doctor helps heal," Gina Nichols said. "He doesn't hurt. You actually are not a real doctor. You're not a doctor at all. You're a serial child molester. A pedophile."
Tiffany Thomas Lopez
Lopez was a softball player at Michigan State who says she told three team trainers about Nassar in the early 2000's. She filed a lawsuit against Nassar and Michigan State in 2016.
"You and your actions have walked with me every step of the way since I've left Michigan State University." she said.
Antolin was a member of the USA Gymnastics team in the late 1990s. She says she was abused at the Karoyli Ranch, where the U.S. national team trains, in Texas. She said Nassar "manipulated and violated every ethical code of being a doctor" and that "behind his good guy facade there was a monster."
Antolin also blamed Michigan State and USA Gymnastics for turning a blind eye to the abuse and instead chose "money and medals above children."
"The little girls you took advantage of so easily have now come back to haunt you," Antolin said.
Antolin asked that Nassar receive the maximum sentence, which will be determined on Friday.
Thomashow, who is the sister of Jessica Thomashow (a victim who spoke on Tuesday), reported abuse by Nassar to Michigan State in 2014 but he was cleared by a Title IX report and allowed to return to work a few months later. Nassar went on to continue his abuse. According to Matt Mencarini of the Lansing State Journal, Michigan State's 2014 investigation was based on the opinion of four medial experts from the university who had ties to Nassar. The investigation yielded two final reports: one was given to Thomashow and the other was kept by the university.
Thomashow called out Michigan State on Wednesday.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Thomashow that Nassar "will never be free" and that "the next judge he faces will be God."
The mother of an anonymous victim spoke and said Nassar took the "beautiful" and "innocent" years of her daughter's life.
"I hate you," the mother said. "I wish our daughter's pain on you...I'm sure the inmates in prison will take care of that. They don't care much for pedophiles, from what I hear. Good luck with that."
Anderson planned to speak anonymously but decided to change her mind. She is currently a teacher and said she looks at her students as a reminder of how defenseless she was when Nassar abused her.
During her testimony, her former coach Thomas Brennan yelled at Nassar to "Look at her!" Nassar was looking down and scribbling notes before mumbling. He also chimed in by saying "For the record, go to hell." Brennan added he feel guilt for having sent "more than 100 kids" to him over the years.
Barterian was 11 years old when she was first abused by Nassar.
"I am here to gain closure," she said.
Doski was 12 years old when she was abused by Nassar when she sought treatment for her back pain. She believes she was abused by Nassar on 10 different occasions.
Her husband, Ryan, took a second to tell Nassar, "There are circles of hell reserved for people like you."
Moul said she was abused by two men in the gymnastics community and Nassar was just one of them. She now has daughters but said she struggled with allowing them to be part of the community.
Jones, a former gymnast, made her statement through a video conference that was played on the screen in the courtroom. She is one of the women who Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting. She opened with a statement from her mother, who helped her when she contemplated suicide at 12 years old. Jones’ mother was present in the room when Nassar was abusing her and he was able to hold a conversation about Catholicism with the mother.
“You chose your actions. You chose to sexually assault little girls,” Jones said.
Jones is a biology major in college and said she will be a better doctor than Nassar could ever dream to be. Aquilina asked Jones whether she wants restitution as part of his sentence and she said yes.
Spicher said she debated whether she wanted to be identified but decided to go public.
"We are not victims," she said. "We are survivors."
Hayes was a skater at Michigan State when she was abused by Nassar. She noted Nassar did not include references to what he called "procedures" in her medical chart. On Wednesday, she confronted Nassar and said he "parted my legs and forcefully pushed your dry fingers in my vagina...inside me for about 15 minutes at each session. You told me you would realign my back by doing this."
"You are the one person who caused the forest fire, and it was your match," she told Nassar.
Walker was a gymnast when she was abused by Nassar. She told the court room she lost 30 pounds, stopped playing sports and developed an eating disorder after she was abused by Nassar.
Victim 75 wished to remain anonymous but was a rowing athlete. She was abused with training staff members in the room.
"He put his hand under my sports bra so he could cup my breast," the victim said. "He then put his hands under my underwear line, on my vagina during the same appointment."
Williams was initially going to remain anonymous as Victim No. 118 but she was inspired by the other women who have chosen to be identified. Williams was a gymnast and was first assaulted by Nassar when she was 16 years old. She said Nassar thanked her for trusting him after penetrating her for 15 to 20 minutes. She said Nassar abused her at least 20 times, would make oral sex jokes with her and even discussed drinking beer with her. She often wondered whether his treatment room at Michigan State with photos of Olympians and athletes was a "shrine of his conquests of his victims."
Robinson is a minor who initially wanted to remain anonymous but decided to be identified Wednesday. She was accompanied by her father. Robinson said she once looked up to Nassar as a doctor and even shadowed him for a day.
"I came to the stand as a victim and I leave as a victor," she said.
initially wanted to remain anonymous but decided to put a name to her story. She played softball at Michigan State and is now a teacher. She said every time Michigan State issues a statement regarding Nassar or even putting on a Michigan State sweatshirt, she cringes.
"I am broken," Hogan said. "I'm tired. I feel like life has been sucked out of me. I'm in desperate need for healing."
Weick is another woman who just decided to be identified Wednesday. She said she was 12 years old when she was first abused by Nassar. She said her relationship with her mother, Lee, was strained because they were in the room together when Nassar abused Helena. The mother had no knowledge of it at the time.
Her mother was in attendance and told the judge that institutions must be held accountable for Nassar's actions. Michigan State University President Lou Ann K. Simon is in attendance for the Wednesday afternoon hearing. Simon told reporters she did not attend on Tuesday because she did not want to be "a distraction."
Victim 28 is a minor and wished to remain anonymous.
A Letter from Dr. Steven Karageanes
Nassar's attorney objected to having an impact statement read by someone who was not a victim but the judge said it was important for the medical community to have a voice. The statement from a doctor might not impact her decision. Dr. Karageanes wrote that Nassar made the other doctors believe that he was a good doctor in order to continue treating and abusing girls and women. Before the stories in local newspapers started being published, Nassar asked Karageanes to speak with Michigan State Police and get support from others in the medical field. Karageanes apologized to the victims of Nassar's abuse, whom he had referred to Nassar as patients.
"Nassar wrote a chapter in my textbook in 2004 on techniques to use near genitalia," Karageanes said. "He did all this and used his credibility to get doctors to keep feeding him victims."
Victim 10 wished to remain anonymous but was a gymnast who sought out Nassar for treatment as the "famous Olympic gymnastics team doctor." She said she was groped and assaulted four times.
A letter by Taryn Look
Look was 14 years old and competed as a member of the USA Gymnastics national team when she was abused. Her statement was read in court and said she wanted to end her life after Nassar's abuse. She blamed Michigan State and USA Gymnastics for allowing Nassar to abuse young women.
This post will continue to be updated with the stories shared from the courtroom on Wednesday.