'Monster' Larry Nassar makes pathetic attempt to play the victim


Larry Nassar has admitted to “molesting gymnasts with his hands” while he was a doctor practicing at Michigan State University.

In his career, which spanned nearly three decades from joining the U.S. national gymnastics team’s medical staff in 1986 to leaving the role of medical coordinator in 2015, Nassar abused a proven seven girls and is having almost 100 of his alleged victims address the court at his sentencing.

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The 54-year-old Nassar is already on the hook for 60 years in prison related to child pornography convictions; he faces another 40 to 125 years in the clink for these molestation charges.

Nassar was always a bit disreputable; as far back as 1994, allegations surfaced that he had a questionable grasp on the line between medical examination and sexual abuse.

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But it wasn’t until 2016 that the Indianapolis Star blew the lid off the story, and since that article was published, the Star has updated its count of victims who have come forward to place the count at “at least 150 people.”

One victim, according to the Star, reported that “the women said they were molested during multiple treatments in the 1990s and early 2000s. The two women said the doctor fondled their genitals and breasts. One of them said Nassar also spoke about oral sex and made other inappropriate comments when they were alone, according to court records. The other woman said she told police Nassar was visibly aroused as he examined her during one medical visit.”

Bear in mind, by “women” the article is referring to teenage girls in the care of a man old enough to be their father.

All this is terrible. It’s a classic tale for the #MeToo movement, and indeed 2012 gold medal winner McKayla Maroney used that hashtag to add her name to the list of Nassar’s victims. In court this week, she called him a “monster of a human being.”

Do you think Larry Nassar should get the maximum sentence?

But what really pushes Nassar over the line from monster to something even worse is a six-page single-spaced letter he wrote to the court complaining that it was “too hard” to listen to the dozens of victims recount in detail how he emotionally scarred and physically assaulted them. He further complained that the case had turned into a “media circus” and that the judge was using his case as a prop for her own self-promotion.

That’s right. Acts that had him “visibly aroused” when he was performing them all of a sudden are now emotionally traumatic for him.

Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, presiding over the case, said, “Now this is entertaining to me,” as she read the letter into the court record Thursday.

Nassar claimed that “Aquilina said if I pass out she’ll have the EMTs revive me and prop me up in the witness box.”

At that point, Aquilina went full Judge Judy.

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“I suspect you have watched too much television,” she said. “It’s delusional. You need to talk about these issues with a therapist, and that’s not me.”

The victims are speaking under terms of the guilty plea, which allowed for victim statements; that’s where the 100-plus young women who are now letting their stories be told come into the equation over and above the seven girls about whom Nassar pleaded guilty in the first place.

And as the women, tears in their eyes and shaken tone in their voice, tell their stories, they look directly at the defendant, the man who gave them trauma they will carry throughout their lives, trust issues that will come to light any time they seek routine medical care, acts that will, if they implant in these women a fear of doctors that causes them to miss important appointments, put their lives at risk in the future.

And Nassar weeps, although one can’t help but wonder if he’s shaken not because he gives a lick about any of these human tragedies he’s inflicted but because he got caught and will never see the light of day again. Is it regret or the simple knowledge of what prisoners like to do to child molesters and child pornographers behind bars? After all, that’s the bottom of the prison food chain, and Nassar isn’t a muscled tough guy; he’s a meek physician who got his jollies off of little girls.

Aquilina praised every young woman for coming forward, treating the broken man whose fate she holds in her hands like the vile stain on society that he is.

And as the judge said to one victim, when she vowed to impose a sentence that will ensure that Nassar dies in jail, “The next judge he faces will be God.”

Nassar, meanwhile, seems under the impression that the only women who should speak are the seven victims he copped to abusing. In one of the most mind-exploding deflections of blame even by the standards of a lowlife that one can imagine, Nassar wrote that “Aquilina is allowing them all to talk. She wants me to sit in the witness box next to her for all four days so the media cameras will be directed at her.”

Aquilina delivered a delicious and concise verbal smackdown of this point, saying, “I didn’t ask any media to be here. … I don’t have a dog in this fight, sir. I didn’t want even one victim to lose their voice.”

She added, “Spending four or five days listening to them is significantly minor considering the hours of pleasure you had at their expense and ruining their lives.”

There are provisions in sentencing law in nearly every jurisdiction in America where a judge can take into account the apparent remorse of the defendant, granting a measure of clemency when it seems that the victim is taking steps to atone for even the worst of crimes.

But for Larry Nassar, every word he has said points to him believing that somehow he is the victim here, exactly the sort of failure to accept consequences of one’s actions that the phrase “maximum sentence” was coined to address.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
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Seattle, Washington
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