Judge grills Nassar over his fear of ‘facing witnesses,’ more speak out

Nation/World

LANSING, MI – JANUARY 17: Larry Nassar appears in court to listen to victim impact statements during his sentencing hearing after being accused of molesting more than 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University where he had his sports-medicine practice on January 17, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to sexually assaulting seven girls, but the judge is allowing all his accusers to speak. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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LANSING, Mich. (WXMI)— The number of women choosing to confront their abuser in court continues to grow in the Larry Nassar sex abuse case.

The former sports doctor admitted to sexually assaulting scores of women over the past two decades. Also on this third day of victim impact statements, lawmakers called on Michigan State University’s president Lou Anna Simon to resign.

The day took a slight detour from the procession of heart-wrenching statements from survivors. Judge Rosemarie Aqualina grilled Nassar over a 6-page letter written by the convicted pedophile. She called it ‘delusional’, ‘mumbo jumbo’.

Aqualina read his words, “Judge Aqualina is seeking media attention over protocol.”

The judge then turned to Nassar, “Really? This is the people of the State of Michigan versus Larry Nassar not Judge Aqualina. I’m doing my job. I try to do it well, unlike what you did.”

Aqualina continued to read, “I’m very concerned about my ability to be able to face witnesses this next four days mentally.”

In court, Nassar told the judge the letter was his cry for help from Community Mental Health services. But what about victim Nicole Reeb’s wellbeing?

Reeb said, “Over the past year and a half, there have been moments I have sunk so low that I have wondered if enduring all of this is really worth it. I’ve wondered if my family would have it easier if I weren’t here.”

Reeb was the 54th victim to speak or have a statement read in court. She said she battled alcoholism and depression over the past twenty years and that she was unable to find the underlying pain until Nassar’s arrest in 2016.

“I haven’t necessarily wanted to die, but occasionally I don’t want to exist either,” Reeb said.

Arianna Guerrero carries the same burden at just 16 years old.

“I have depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts. I have PTSD so bad that I’m not longer able to be a normal kid and student,” Guerrero explained.

The judge said to her, “You, like so many, have talked about suicide. Suicide is never the answer.”

Lyndsy Gamet​ said, “I will also never forget the day last year in 2016 when I heard the story in the news. That was the day that I realized that what he did to me he also did to other women. All of the doubts that I had about him and what he did are undisputed.”

Lindsey Lemke, a Michigan State University student, called out people at the college and USA Gymnastics for allegedly enabling Nassar.

“Larry, I hope you, Lou Anna Simon, Kathy Klagis, John Geddert and all of USAG are scared because you have pissed off the wrong army of women,” Lemke told Nassar.

MSU president Lou Anna Simon sat in court yesterday. When confronted, she said there will be an appropriate time and place to address accountability.

The prosecutor also read a statement from Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney. She said Nassar “abused my trust. He abused my body, and he left scars on my psyche that may never go away.”

With additional victims choosing to speak publicly as sentencing goes on, the judge said sentencing could go until Monday or Tuesday.

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