While there was no doubt that Larry Nassar would receive nothing but the most serious punishment for his horrendous crimes against over 140 women, seeing a sexual misconduct case handled so well is overwhelmingly hopeful. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina presided over the case, dubbed the biggest sexual abuse scandal in sports history, allowing 156 survivors to give statements in the trial.
Her handling of the case has been widely applauded, specifically her final statement in which she states, ‘as much as it was my honour and privilege to hear the sister survivors, it was my honour and privilege to sentence you.’ Sentencing him to 175 years in prison, which he will serve after his 60-year sentence for child pornography crimes, she said, ‘I've just signed your death warrant.’
This comes after years of despicable reports, the majority coming out in the last few months, against the former team USA sports doctor- including claims by Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas. One gymnast, Mattie Larson, even attempted to concuss herself to avoid seeing the doctor. They are just three of 158 women accusing Nassar of abuse, over the course of his 32-year career in USA Gymnastics. His victims were subject to his crimes for years at a time, with some as young as 6 years old when the trauma started.
Judge Aquilina promised all of the 156 women who spoke at his trail that their ‘words will haunt him, even if he doesn’t admit it’. She made her powerful sentencing statement just yesterday, which you can watch below:
Not only does she force Nassar to hear the extent of damage he has inflicted upon so many women, she has dealt with survivors exactly as all who have suffered sexual abuse should be, with unwavering support and empathy. With women like her at the helm of sexual abuse cases, we finally have hope that her peers will learn from the amazing precedent she has set.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.