Judge tosses letter from gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar aside: ‘You just don’t get it’
Larry Nassar, the disgraced doctor who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting young female gymnasts, wrote the judge a letter before his sentencing.
Nassar was accused of sexually assaulting over 150 victims during his tenure as sports doctor with the U.S. women’s Olympic and National teams and Michigan State University. He was sentenced to 175 years in prison on Wednesday.
He had also been previously sentenced to 60 years in prison for possession of child pornography.
During a sentencing hearing, Nassar listened to seven days’ worth of victim statements, which he said had shaken him to his core.
“There are no words that can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred,” Nassar said. “An acceptable apology to all of you is impossible to write and convey. I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
After the apology, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina read parts of a letter, written by Nassar to her, to the courtroom to explain her serious and lengthy sentence.
WATCH: Judge reads letter written by Nassar denying sexual abuse
The judge said she wasn’t releasing the full letter because she didn’t want the women who’ve come forward to “be re-victimized by the words [Nassar] has in here.”
“I was a good doctor because my treatments worked,” Nassar said in the letter read by Aquilina. “And those patients that are now speaking out are the same ones that praised and came back over and over.
“The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad. They feel I broke their trust. ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.'”
In the letter, Nassar also said the judge in his child pornography case “went balistic on sentencing;” he said his 60-year sentence was “Not proper, appropriate, [or] fair.”
He also said in the letter he felt “manipulated” into a not guilty plea by the attorney general, who wouldn’t accept a plea of no contest.
WATCH: Victims react to Nassar sentencing
Nassar has been called a “master manipulator” by his victims. When the judge read the accusation that Nassar felt manipulated, spectators in the courtroom laughed.
“What I did in [these] cases was medical – not sexual. But because of the porn, I lost all support thus another reason for the state guilty plea,” the letter continued.
The final part of the letter Aquilina read stated that the FBI investigated the claims in 2015 and Nassar said they “found nothing substantial because it was medical” and not sexual.
“Now they are seeking the media attention and financial award,” the letter stated.
When she was finished, Aquilina dismisively tossed the letter aside and asked if Nassar would like to withdraw his plea.
“No, your Honour,” Nassar said.
“Of course not, because you are guilty, aren’t you?” Aquilina said.
She said the letter proved that Nassar “still didn’t get it,” stating firmly that what he did to the women was “not a medical procedure.”
“You played on everyone’s vulnerability. I am not vulnerable. Not to you. Not to other criminals at that podium. I swore to uphold the constitution and the law and I am well trained,” she said.
She then delivered her sentence of 175 years in prison.
“You do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again,” she said. “You have done nothing to control those urges. Anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable.”
WATCH: Larry Nassar victims express gratitude towards judge for reading letter
The victims said they were happy with Aquilina’s decision to read the letter out loud.
“Personally, I’m happy that she read [the letter],” gymnast and victim Lindsay Lemke said on Wednesday afternoon. “That letter proved to us that we absolutely did the right thing.”
Gymnast Simone Biles called Aquilina her hero on Twitter.
Who is Judge ‘Barracuda’ Aquilina
The Ingham County Circuit called herself a “fighter” in a 2011 profile from Legalnews.com.
She came to the U.S. as a toddler with her siblings, and went to Michigan State University before going to Cooley Law School.
She joined the military and became the first female JAG officer in the Michigan Army National Guard — where she earned the nickname Barracuda Aquilina, according to the BBC.
She also writes crime novels in her spare time.
Earlier in the sentencing hearing, she called Nassar “delusional” when he said it was “too hard” to listen to the victims.
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