About 105 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 continue through Friday.
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 instance of abuse when she was just six years old.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina is presiding over the hearing. On Thursday, she informed the courtroom that Nassar said he does not know whether he can face witnesses and the impact statements anymore. Nassar submitted a six-page, single-spaced letter to her. He described the victim statements as a four-day "media circus."
"I do not know why you are complaining now," Aquilina told Nassar.
Nassar said that his letter was a "cry for community mental health."
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.
Jamie Dantzscher, Olympic artistic gymnast for Team USA
Dantzscher was a member of the USA Gymnastics team that won bronze at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. She attributed her battles with anorexia and hospitalization for suicidal tendencies to Nassar's abuse. Dantzscher cannot recall the amount of times Nassar molested her but she said Nassar would digitally penetrate her while rubbing against her. It was not until 2016 that she realized Nassar had abused her. She addressed Nassar on Thursday and said, "You even had the audacity to abuse me in my own bed, in my own room at the Olympics."
She went public with her allegations of abuse in August 2016, which was met with criticism on social media by people who didn't believe her and a call from USA Gymnastics psychologist Allie Arnold for "positive" Nassar stories in the media.
"You pretended to be on my side" against abusive USAG coaches and staff, Dantzscher said. "But instead of reporting it, you used your power to manipulate me. You snuck me food and candy when you knew food was being restricted."
She did not accept his plea for an apology and said, "You are pure evil."
McKayla Maroney Statement
The attorney general's office read a statement on behalf of 2012 Olympian McKayla Maroney, who could not be in attendance. Maroney wrote that, after starting gymnastics at the age of 18 months, it was an amazing story to make the Olympics—"but not without a price." She met Nassar for treatment that he described was medically necessary, and he allegedly started abusing her when she was 13 years old. The abuse did not end until she stopped competing. Maroney went public with her story of abuse in October and recalled an instance in which Nassar gave her a sleeping pill for a flight to Japan. When she woke up, she was in Nassar's hotel room and being abused.
"I thought I was going to die that night," Maroney wrote.
Maroney said that Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee allowed Nassar to continue abusing children. She described Michigan State's 2014 investigation into Nassar as "botched." Judge Aquilina agreed and said the USOC's statement falls short.
Lemke, a former Michigan State gymnast, previously had a letter read on her behalf by her mother but decided to speak after hearing from other victims. Nassar allegedly started abusing her when she was 10 years old and was a scholarship athlete with the Spartans when the first reports of Nassar's abuse started to surface. She believes that Nassar abused her hundreds of times in the basement of his home in Holt, Mich. She filed a lawsuit against him and met with police.
Lemke took a moment to address John Geddert, her coach at Twistars Gym, calling him a "coward" and a"disgrace" since much of the abuse occurred at his gym. She said some gymnasts tried to take their own lives because of him. Geddert is being sued along with Michigan State and USA Gymnastics.
She also called former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny a coward.
"Shame on you," she said of Michigan State.
She said she was terrified of what the university would do to her because she came forward. Lemke said Michigan State "created an environment where victims were afraid to speak up."
Lemke addressed Kathie Klages, Michigan State former women's gymnastics coach, who allegedly was told of abuse in 1997 and remained silent for years. Lemke said that Klages deserves to to be behind bars with Geddert and Nassar.
"To (Michigan State President) Lou Anna Simon: You are no president of mine as a student and former athlete of MSU. Guess what? You're a coward too," Lemke said.
Simon reportedly told a woman she was "too busy" to return to the courtroom and listen to the hearing after being in attendance on Wednesday.
"None of us had time in our schedule for Nassar to abuse us, but we had no choice," Lemke said.
"Larry, I hope you, John Geddert, Kathie Klages, USAG and all others realize you've pissed off the wrong army of women," she added.
Reeb was a dancer at Michigan State who saw Nassar and once bragged to a friend that she was being treated by the same doctor who helped Kerri Strug at the Olympics. Nassar allegedly abused her while treating her for a back injury. He informed her that she had abnormalities in her spine and hip, which became an excuse for him to continue seeing her as a patient.
Before 2016, she told her sister and a friend from dance about Nassar's "weird" treatments. She started drinking sometimes four to five nights per week. She graduated from Michigan State with tens of thousands of credit debt from bar tabs. She dealt with depression and anxiety before suffering breakdowns. She admitted to herself that she had been sexually abused in September 2016 when she saw an article on Facebook.
Reeb's family has a history of attending Michigan State but she put some blame on the university for its handling of Nassar.
"MSU's response has compounded my pain. I am frustrated and outraged at the administration's inability to take responsibility for handing over children and girls to a predator for almost 20 years," Reeb said. "I no longer bleed green."
Reeb asked the judge to lock up Nassar in a prison cell for the rest of his life.
Carr was allegedly molested when she was 11 or 12 years old. She described Nassar as "a wolf in sheep's clothing." Carr had her doubt about abuse when the news and allegations started to come out. Those doubts were pushed down and she realized she was hiding from the truth. The people in the gallery applauded Carr after she spoke.
Cole was a former volleyball player who waited three months to get an appointment to see him in 2010. She saw Nassar for a back adjustment but was hospitalized with terrible nerve and back pain after his treatment. She underwent electrocardiograms exams and spinal taps but asked her mother to bring her back to Michigan State for Nassar's help. Other doctors said that she should no longer compete, but Nassar insisted that she was structurally fine and to ignore their advice. She was in a wheelchair following an injury yet Nassar told her she could still play in a game.
Cole noted the abuse took place in front of her parents, siblings and a trainer. In one instance her brother attended a treatment and Nassar asked him, "Are you here to beat me up?" Knowing what she does now, Cole says she wish her brother had.
"The last treatment I had with Larry, he mounted the table and penetrated my vagina, grunting and making inappropriate comments," Cole said. "Deep down in my gut, I knew something was wrong."
Cole said she hates the colors green and white as well as anything associated with Michigan State. She also said she still wakes up at night screaming from nightmares.
Smith was a dancer at Michigan State and created a #MeToo Michigan State Facebook page. Smith went to see Nassar when she was 17 years old for ankle injuries. She told the courtroom that she was "baffled" by how Nassar would find a way to make his way to her private parts. She said other friends in the dance program would joke that Nassar was "the first guy to finger us."
Smith said Michigan State and USA Gymnastics should also be held accountable for Nassar's actions and "she's not going anywhere."
Guerrero is 16 years old and was accompanied by her father, who granted permission for her to speak publicly. Guerrero told Nassar he not only hurt her but also hurt her teammates and she hates him for it. Nassar reportedly "liked" Facebook photos of her and friends wearing bathing suits. Nassar used to compliment her on her appearance and said she could be a model, when she was 11.
Guerrero said that she would fake her period to avoid being abused by Nassar.
Guerero has not given up on gymnastics and will compete on Friday because she is not scared of Nassar anymore.
"You abused me for years," Guerrero said. "I hope you feel this pain for the rest of my life."
Melody Posthuma Vanderveen
She was one of the original victims (known at the time as Victim F) but it was too hard for her to testify during a trial so the charges were dropped against Nassar. She was ready to come forward and be publicly identified on Thursday. She first saw Nassar to treat intensive pain at the age of 13. When news started to come out about Nassar in 2016, she initially defended him. Eventually, she realized he fooled her and blocked Nassar on all social media platforms and calls. She last saw him in Dec. 2014, when he told her that she had a ligament disease. The abuse during that session included vaginal penetration and he told her "I could put my whole hand inside you."
Vanderveen said her family is under financial stress from many visits to counselors. She added that Michigan State and the institutions that did nothing are equally sick, evil and liable as Nassar. She told Michigan State police that she was abused after the Title IX investigation on Nassar was closed.
Harrison is a Michigan State student.
"Larry, it wasn't until you got caught that you asked for forgiveness," Harrison said. "You compared touching us little girls to abusing alcohol. As if that is remotely comparable to sexual abuse."
The stress after Nassar's abuse took a toll on her health and she said she lost 20 pounds. She has been seeing specialist to diagnose stomach issues but asked for her mother to accompany her when she needed to see a male doctor.
Harrison was infuriated by Michigan State's response to the case.
The victim chose to remain anonymous. She reached out to Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis Wednesday night about attending the hearing to speak.
Victim 11 and Victim 136
The two victims are sisters who requested anonymity. They were treated by Nassar and nurses and residents were asked to leave the room during his abuse.
Tarrant is a sergeant in the Marines and made her statement through a video. Her parents stood at the podium and cried as they listened to her statement.
Tarrant's father addressed Nassar and said, "I feel for your wife and your kids because you shattered their lives as much as you've shattered our lives."
Dr. Mary Fischer Follmer
Follmer is the mother of Katherine Payne and Maureen Payne. Follmer read a statement on behalf of Maureen, who attended Michigan State. She said she was scarred from the abuse when she watched her son and husband try to re-enact a play from a Michigan State basketball game. She started to cry and couldn't describe to him the stench of sweat and Dr. Nassar's face during the abuse. Maureen wrote that Michigan State elected to do nothing with the reports about Nassar.
"As you deteriorate in prison, I want you to remember that you lost," Maureen's statement said. "As you eke out your days in prison, know that you will be forgotten and left alone."
Katherine Payne's statement opened with a request to play Nina Simone's music video for "Ain't Got No" by Nina Simone.
"To the brave women who were able to speak, know that you are not alone," her statement said.
This post will continue to be updated with the stories shared from the courtroom on Wednesday.