Larry Nassar, right, sits with attorney Matt Newburg during his sentencing.
Larry Nassar, right, sits with attorney Matt Newburg during his sentencing. Carlos Osorio

Nassar gets 175 more years in jail

A US judge has told former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar he will spend the rest of his life in jail, after nearly 160 of the young women he abused and assaulted delivered statements about how his actions had destroyed their lives.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced the 54-year-old to 175 years in jail, on top of the 60-year term he had already received for child porn charges.

"You don't deserve to walk outside a prison again,” she said. "You have done nothing to control these urges and wherever you go will be destruction ... I have signed your death warrant.”

Nassar began working with the national squad in 1996 and was only fired in 2015.

Dozens of young women and girls claimed senior officials had failed in their duty to protect them and had either not spotted or ignored evidence of Nassar's actions.

The organisation's president, Steve Penny, resigned last year amid accusations of negligence, and three board members resigned this week.

Before the sentence was announced, Nassar apologised to his victims, telling them: "I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”

But the judge said she found his words unconvincing and read aloud from a letter Nassar wrote to her in which he said he was a "good doctor” who was "manipulated” into pleading guilty.

"It is my honour and privilege to sentence you because you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again,” she told him.

Nassar pleaded guilty in November to seven counts of first-degree sex assault in Ingham County, as well as three additional charges in Eaton County, where he will be sentenced next week. He was already serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for child pornography convictions.

As Ms Aquilina spoke, some in the courtroom in Lansing, Michigan, sobbed and wiped at their eyes, although people obeyed the judge's instruction to remain quiet following her pronouncement.

The last victim to testify on Wednesday, Rachael Denhollander, was the first to come forward publicly with allegations against the celebrated doctor. She reported him to Michigan State University police in 2016 and told her story to the Indianapolis Star, which launched its own investigation that resulted in a series of reports.

Ms Denhollander said Nassar began abusing her in 2000 when she was a 15-year-old gymnast.

"As we were being sexually violated, Larry was sexually aroused by our humiliation,” she said.

Ms Aquilina, who has been praised for the way she supported the victims who had spoken in court, told Ms Denhollander she had "started the tidal wave”.

- Andrew Buncombe, The Independent