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Destroying Lives For Over 20 Years

265 girls have accused former USA Gymnastics doctor and Michigan State University teacher and doctor of sexual assault.

Erin Drew and Maddie Fecteau, Staff Writers

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Larry Nassar, a former doctor of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University has been sentenced to 40-175 years in prison after sexually abusing 160 girls over the span of 20 years and another 60 years for child pornography charges.

“I couldn’t be happier with the outcome, and I am so extremely disappointed with how USA Gymnastics treated the situation and the victims. Sad to say I compete under such an organization,” said Junior Riley Daniels who’s whole life has been dedicated to gymnastics since she was 5 years old and she is now at the highest level of competition and is ashamed of her sport.

Many people know Nassar as the man who sexually assaulted many gymnasts on the US Gymnastics team but what people do not  know is that he did not stop at gymnasts. Nassar abused figure skaters, volleyball players, softball players, dancers and even one of his family friend’s daughter.

Nassar began working with USA Gymnastics in 1986 as an athletic trainer. He then went to medical school at Michigan State University and then started as a sports physician and began teaching there.

As more women such as Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas against Nassar and how he sexually abused them, it is giving the other girls, who have not had the courage to come out, strength. Since Nassar has had three court hearings, the number of women to accuse Nassar of sexual abuse went from 160 to 265.

According to NBC News, many of the girls who were abused by Nassar told people when it happened but they chose to cover it up and even paid the girls not to say anything. The first person to come forward about his abuse was 21 years ago in 1997. Larissa Boyce was 16 years old and was taking part in a youth program at Michigan State University. Boyce and another anonymous gymnast went to Coach Kathie Klages, who was a close friend of Nassar, they told Klages that they felt uncomfortable with the way Nassar touched them. Klages replied by saying they misunderstood and then told Nassar about the complaint but did nothing to punish him.

In 1999, Christie Achenbach who was a runner with an injured hamstring went to Nassar, and was sexually assaulted. She told her coach and the response was that she should trust Nassar because he is a trusted doctor. In 2000, Tiffany Lopez was a freshman softball player and when she was abused by Nassar she told her trainer, Lianna Hadden. Hadden made Lopez feel like she was crazy. In 2001, Jennifer Rod Bedford was a volleyball player, she also went to Lianna Hadden about the sexual abuse and she once again chose to do nothing.

Larry Nassar not only destroyed the girls who were abused but put a serious strain on people’s families. In 2004, Kyle Stephens, who was 12 years old at the time, told her parents that their close family friend, Larry Nassar, had been molesting her since she was in kindergarten. Her parents confronted Nassar but when he denied it, they chose to believe him over their own daughter. The relationship between Stephens and her parents was ruined forever. Stephens’ father committed suicide in 2016 and Stephens believes it was because of the guilt he felt over not believing her.

Another death that probably could have been prevented, had people taken action when Nassar was first getting accused of sexual assault, was the death of Chelsea Markham. According to CNN, Markham was a former gymnast who had been treated by Nassar. After being sexually assaulted by him Markham quit gymnastics. She then became very depressed, started doing drugs and then commited suicide in 2009 when she was 23.

Donna Markham, Chelsea Markhams mother, only knew about the assault because Chelsea told her, she didn’t see it even though she was in the room. Many mothers of Nassar’s victims were in the room while he assaulted their daughters and because the mother’s never said anything, even though the girls felt very uncomfortable, they didn’t know it was wrong. The mothers’ never said anything because Nassar was smart and positioned himself in a way that the parents couldn’t see what he was doing or that he was closing his eyes when really he was doing all of this just to pleasure himself.

One thing that the girls wanted was to be able to tell Nassar how they were feeling to his face. Even after listening to the pain and torture he put dozens of girls through he still tried to get himself out of punishment. He gave the judge a six page letter about why it was so hard for him to listen to the girls statements, but the judge, Rosemarie Aquilina ripped it up after reading only a few paragraphs.

Amy Patch, Daniels’ gymnastics coach said she is “completely disgusted that it was allowed to go on for as long as it did. He is a predator and should not see the light of day again.”

Nassar got the punishment that he deserved, 175 years in jail. What will the punishment be for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University?  “They let little girls be abused by a monster. Unacceptable and unforgivable. I can only hope that all of those who knew are gone from our program,” said Patch.

The people who knew about the abuse but choose to save Nassar instead of their gymnasts and athletes, the people who are the reason that over 200 girls were sexually assaulted.  Lots of Nassar’s patients are suing Michigan State University and the university also may be charged with scrutiny for neglecting to act of suspicions against Nassar. Lots of Michigan State’s employees are leaving the University also. Lou Anna Simon, the president of Michigan State University, resigned hours after Nassars sentencing. Mark Hollis, the athletic director, retired days after the sentencing.

“As awful as this is it sheds light on sexual abuse. I believe from now on athletes will speak up and not allow unusual behavior to go on,” said Patcher, “We will no longer allow men to abuse us in any way.”

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Destroying Lives For Over 20 Years