(Archive) Photograph taken on November 22, 2017 in Lansing, Michigan, the ex-physician of the United States artistic gymnastics, Larry Nassar, accused by several athletes of sexual abuse
Larry Nassar, the former US gym national accused of sexual abuse to more than a hundred athletes, including several Olympic medalists, was sentenced Thursday to 60 years in prison for possession of child pornography.
Protagonist of a scandal that shook the US gymnastics federation, Nasser will be sentenced next month for the other charges of sexual assault.
In the case of child pornography, the 54-year-old doctor, labeled a „monster“ by sports stars, received the maximum sentence of 20 years of imprisonment for each of the three charges he had pleaded guilty to in July.
Nassar was convicted in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan (north), after at least 37,000 photos and videos with sexual connotations involving minors were found on his computer.
„He has shown that he should never have access to children again,“ said Judge Janet Neff, according to the local newspaper Lansing State Journal.
„You have to wonder if he felt he was omnipotent, if he felt he was getting away with it so cleverly,“ he added.
Nassar, linked to the national gymnastics team for nearly three decades, including four Olympic Games, said he was ashamed of his actions.
„I will use every day of the sentence to try to improve,“ he told the judge, according to press reports.
Nassar, married and father of three daughters, will be sentenced in January in two other state courts in Michigan for sexually abusing dozens of teenagers between 1998 and 2015 with the excuse of giving them medical treatment.
– „This is greater than Larry“ –
Dismissed in 2016 from USA Gymnastics, the entity that trains Olympic athletes in the United States, Nassar has already pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree sexual assault at the end of November. A week earlier he had admitted seven other accusations.
The doctor, who until 2015 also worked for Michigan State University, assumed his guilt in abusing girls who were between 13 and 15 years old. The crimes of which he is accused carry penalties of 25 to 40 years in prison.
After the verdict on Thursday, the medalist Aly Raisman, said to be a „survivor“ of the abuses of Nassar and called „look at the organizations that protected Nassar for years and years: USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee, Michigan State University. “
„This is bigger than Larry,“ he said on Twitter.
The case of Nassar forced last year the resignation of the head of gymnastics of the United States, Steve Penny. Penny was accused by the victims of not quickly informing the authorities about the allegations of sexual abuse.
After what happened, USA Gymnastics adopted a „safe sports policy“ that requires „mandatory reports“ of any suspicion of sexual assault.
Nassar was considered one of the best sports therapists. In 2013 he said protect athletes „not only physically but mentally“.
– Champions also say #MeToo –
For Raisman and for McKayla Maroney, gold in London-2012, Nassar is, was, and always will be „a monster“.
„He deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail,“ Maroney wrote in a letter to the Michigan court. „He abused my self-esteem, abused my body and left scars in my mind that may never heal.“
Maroney’s mother said that her daughter came to think of suicide. „She was transformed, she was a high level athlete, cheerful and positive, and she became a depressed young adult, sometimes with suicidal thoughts,“ she told another missive addressed to Judge Neff.
Maroney made public his accusations in the middle of the movement „#MeToo“, with which this year women from all over the world broke the silence about sexual harassment after exploding the case of Harvey Weinstein.
Teammate Gabby Douglas referred to Nassar’s abuse on Instagram in November. „For years we were conditioned to remain silent and, honestly, some things were extremely painful,“ he said.
A civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of some 100 alleged victims of Nassar. His lawyer, John Manly, estimated that the total number could reach 160.