Update: On January 24, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State physician, Larry Nassar, to a total of 175 years in prison.
She said, in part, that it was her privilege to sentence Nassar:
“I just signed your death warrant. […] You do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again.”
One by one, some of the over 150 women sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State physician Larry Nassar came forward Tuesday to tell their stories and to confront the man who harmed them for many years, according to Sports Illustrated. The publication reports the sentencing hearing is set to run through Thursday.
Some of the victims remained anonymous, while others revealed their identities. Two women, who initially asked to stay anonymous, changed their minds just before their testimonies were read after being empowered by those who stood up before them.
Their names are Marion Siebert and Taylor Stevens. Siebert began by thanking Judge Rosemarie Aquilina for giving all of the abused a chance to be heard. She then addressed Nassar himself.
Siebert asked Nassar what he was thinking over all those years he spent abusing young girls. She later told Nassar that she, along with the other victims, did not consent and that none of them are weak individuals.
She then accused Nassar of “hinder[ing] the trajectories” of their lives that they worked so hard for. Siebert then said that she “often wonder[s] what the true number of victims really is.”
Another victim, Kyle Stephens, then approached the microphone to say that Nassar will always be remembered as a man who took something from her and manipulated her for his own selfish pleasure.
Here is a list of the brave women who came forward to share their stories:
Stephens is the only non-patient who is accusing Nassar of sexual abuse. According to her testimony, the abuse began when she was 6 years old and lasted until she was 12. Nassar, who was a family friend, exposed himself to her in a dark boiler room; he would pleasure himself in front of her, he would rub his penis on her bare feet and put his fingers in her vagina.
According to Stephens, Nassar initially convinced her parents that she was lying. Eventually, her parents came to believe her. Stephens’s father took his own life in 2016.
It was Stephens’s police report that led to Nassar’s initial arrest.
Moore was 9 when she first came in contact with Nassar. Nassar cried as she told him she would “never forget what you have done.”
Donna Markham, mother of victim Chelsea Markham:
While other parents stood by their children as their daughters told their stories, Markham addressed Nassar because her daughter couldn’t. Chelsea committed suicide in 2009 at the age of 23. Markham blames Nassar for the death of her daughter because she was never able to fully recovered from the abuse when she was only 12, leading her to abuse drugs.
Capua is only 17 years of age. She told Nassar during her testimony that, “I am no longer broken by you.”
Thomashow is also only 17; she claims the abuse started when she was 12 but had no idea she was being sexually assaulted until 2016 when she read this article in the Indianapolis Star.
As a soccer player, she, too, was abused by Nassar. She also released she was a victim after reading the article by IndyStar.
Before realizing she was one of Nassar’s victims, she initially didn’t believe the accusations against the disgraced doctor. She then described her abuser as a master manipulator.
One of the victims, who wished to remain anonymous, was abused following Nassar’s reinstatement in 2014. The victim told Nassar that she and her family forgave him. As Sports Illustrated reports, Judge Aquilina told the victim that her abuser’s story “ends in prison.”
Nassar first abused Cowan 10 years ago. Now a mother of two, Cowan told her abuser that she would use her experience to teach her child about monsters like Nassar:
“I will educate my children about monsters like you and pray to God they will never experience pain like this.”
Cowan not only blamed Nassar but also Michigan State and USA Gymnastics for allowing the abuse to continue, and for employing Nassar even while he was under a criminal investigation.
Like many of the others, Bauman asked Judge Aquilina to place the maximum sentence on Nassar, adding that she believes he would still be abusing children had he not been caught.
After being abused by Nassar as a teenager, Moore went on to receive her own doctoral degree. Sadly, because of the abuse she suffered which led to crippling depression, she could never thoroughly enjoy her accomplishments. She even considered suicide.
She told Nassar:
“Mr. Nassar, I feel worthless because of what you did to me…I want you to be remorseful. However, I don’t believe you’re capable of this kind of empathy. […] While your name and former title fade I hope being reduced to a number will define you as it has defined me for so many years. However, I pride myself on characteristics that you do not possess. […] I will no longer be known as a number and I will be known as Dr. Danielle Moore.”
After admitting that she considered suicide following her time with Nassar, she told Judge Aquilina that she is trying to be strong for her children. The judge responded by telling Hill that suicide would give Nassar a win and that she shouldn’t want that to happen.
This victim wished not to have her story recorded or retold.
Cormier first met Nassar after she was injured during a birthday party and Nassar’s wife recommended her husband. Nassar told the then 15-year-old that she had a severe spinal fracture.
She now believes that it was just a story he told Cormier so that she would have to continue being his patient— because other doctors never found evidence of a fracture.
As a former MSU volleyball player, Rood-Bedford admitted that the team often referred to Nassar as “the crotch doc.” She actively had to tell herself to stop being a baby while he abused her.
As she spoke, Nassar cried:
“Please know my forgiveness toward you is sincere. Especially in the light…of the forgiveness that’s been granted to me, that I should be called a child of God… What you’ve done…is not who God intended you to be.”
Soos was a figure skater at the time of the abuse. She revealed that Nassar’s actions not only left her with reoccurring nightmares but that it also ruined some of her personal relationships. Like some of the doctor’s other victims, she was abused while family members were present.
Erickson was a patient of Nassar’s for 17 years. She told him: “I want the nightmares of you coming into my room to go away.”
Imrie cried with pain as Nassar penetrated her anus with his fingers. Her mother was also in the room at the time of the abuse. He requested that she come back for a follow-up appointment, where he continued to abuse her.
She remained anonymous but showed Nassar her name on a piece of paper. He nodded as he read it. She then went on to persecute him for taking so many young girls’ virginity and later called him “quite possibly the greatest perpetrator of sexual assault of all time.”
Halicek was on her way to being a level-10 gymnast when she fractured her back and trusted Nassar to get her competition-ready again. Her parents were also in the room when Nassar abused her. She admitted that, to this day, she still does not feel safe.
She chose to have the cameras stop rolling while giving her testimony.
Skrabis quit gymnastics because of her time, at age 15, as one of Nassar’s patients.
After being abused by Nassar, Randall told her mother who took her to get a rape kit in 2004. When the police reviewed Randall’s accusation, they said Nassar explained “that it was a medical procedure and a simple misunderstanding”:
“Over the years, I tried to convince myself that I was the only one, and that I had scared him enough by filing a police report.”
Spicher said that when she first heard accusations against Nassar, she didn’t want to believe it. But upon realizing that she, too, was one of his victims for over 12 years, it scared her. Spicher told the judge that she visited Nassar “hundreds” of times and each time, she was assault by the disgraced doctor.
She admitted that her testimony would be the last time she would ever talk about Nassar, because he’s already taken enough from her. Her abuser cried as he listened to her words.
Hayes, who is currently pregnant, explained her abuse and how Nassar would explain his actions to her. Her husband stood by her side:
“You told me to lie down on my stomach and open my legs. You then parted my loose shorts, and without warning forcefully pushed your dry fingers in my vagina, touching areas that have never been touched before. I hadn’t at that point even seen a gynocologist yet. You remained inside me for about 15 minutes at each session. […] You told me you would realign my back by doing this.”
Hayes was an MSU student at the time of the abuse. She added that she never actually received any relief for any of the issues she had in the first place.
Walker was a gymnast, but because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Nassar, she quit sports and developed an eating disorder.
She was a rowing athlete and admitted that other trainers were in the room at the time of the abuse.
Williams was another victim who wanted to remain anonymous but ultimately changed her mind after being inspired by the women before her. Williams said she was assaulted by Nassar at least 20 times and he once thanked her for “trusting him” after he had penetrated her about 15 to 20 minutes.
She now wonders if the pictures of athletes he had hanging on his wall were just a “shrine of his conquests of his victims.”
Robinson is still a minor but came forward with her father standing by her side. She told Nassar that she “came to the stand as a victim” but that she’s leaving “as a victor.”
Hogan was a softball player and is now a teacher. She admitted to still being broken over the abuse she suffered because of Nassar and that she is “in desperate need for healing.”
Weick is another victim who suffered a strained relationship with her mother because of the abuse. Weick admitted that her mother was in the room when Nassar abused her, but her mother had no idea at the time. Weick’s mother also spoke, telling the judge that those who run the organizations that allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue should be held accountable.
This victim, who is a minor, wished for her identity and story to remain anonymous.
A statement from Dr. Steven Karageanes, who was not a victim:
Despite Nassar’s attorney objecting to a statement from a non-victim, Judge Aquilina allowed it. Dr. Karageanes apologized to the victims Nassar hurt and claimed that Nassar used his credibility to convince other doctors to send patients his way:
“Nassar wrote a chapter in my textbook in 2004 on techniques to use near genitalia. He did all this and used his credibility to get doctors to keep feeding him victims.”
While wanting to remain anonymous, this gymnast admitted to being groped and assaulted four times by Nassar.
Look was not present in court but had her statement read aloud. She was 14 when she was abused by Nassar and blames Michigan State and USA Gymnastics for enabling him.
She said she wanted to “end her life” after her time with Nassar.
Jones was also assaulted by Nassar with her mother in the room. She admitted that it was her mother who helped her through when she was contemplated suicide at the age of 12. Nassar pled guilty to her assault charges.
When asked if she wanted restitution, Jones responded by saying yes.
Jones’s mother also made a statement, claiming that during the time Nassar was abusing her daughter, he was able to hold a conversation with her about Catholicism.
Jones, who is studying to be a doctor, told Nassar that she will be a better doctor than he could ever dream of being.
Moul admitted that Nassar was only one of the two men who abused her within the gymnastics community. Now a mother of two girls, she admitted that she’s having a hard time allowing them to be a part of that community.
Doski faced Nassar with her husband by her side. After admitting she was abused at least 10 times, starting at the age of 12, her husband addressed Nassar himself to tell him that there is a special circle in hell waiting for him.
Barterian was 11 years old when she began to see Nassar. She told Nassar that she was there to attempt to get closure.
Anderson is currently a teacher. While giving her testimony, Thomas Brennan, the teacher’s former coach, yelled at Nassar to look at her, before adding that he feels guilty for sending over 100 kids to Nassar for treatment:
“For the record, go to hell.”
The mother of this victim, who chose to remain anonymous, spoke on her daughter’s behalf:
“I hate you. I wish our daughter’s pain on you…I’m sure the inmates in prison will take care of that. They don’t care much for pedophiles, from what I hear. Good luck with that.”
Thomashow is the sister of Jessica, who testified on Tuesday. Thomashow reported Nassar to Michigan State after she was abused. Michigan State reinstated the disgraced doctor a few months later, following an investigation that allegedly came up clean. As Sports Illustrated reports:
According to Matt Mencarini of the Lansing State Journal, Michigan State’s 2014 investigation was based on the opinion of four medial experts from the university who had ties to Nassar.
Antolin was a member of the USA Gymnastics Team in the 1990s. She told Nassar:
“The little girls you took advantage of so easily have now come back to haunt you.”
She then asked the judge to give Nassar the maximum sentence.
Tiffany Thomas Lopez:
As a softball player for MSU in the early 2000s, Lopez told three trainers about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Nassar. She eventually filed a lawsuit against him and the university in 2016.
Gina Nichols, whose her daughter is World Championship medalist Maggie Nichols:
In 2015, Maggie was the first gymnast to report Nassar to USA Gymnastics. She was 15 years old. According to Sports Illustrated:
It was not until Olympians Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney reported abuse by Nassar to USA Gymnastics that the governing body decided to call the FBI—five weeks after Nichols’ initial report.
Gina then addressed Nassar:
“A real doctor helps heal. He doesn’t hurt. You actually are not a real doctor. You’re not a doctor at all. You’re a serial child molester. A pedophile.”
Dantzcher won a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She attributes her anorexia and suicidal tendencies, which landed her in the hospital at times, to the abuse she suffered at the hands of Nassar, Sports Illustrated reports.
However, she didn’t realize that until July 2016.
She couldn’t count how many times she had been abused but recalled that it continued while at the Olympics:
“You even had the audacity to abuse me in my own bed, in my own room at the Olympics.”
She went on to say that he no longer holds his manipulative powers, but that it is she and the other women who hold power now.
While not present in the courtroom, the former Olympian wrote a statement to be read aloud to the judge. She recalled the time Nassar abused her while in China. He had given her a sleeping pill for the plane and when Maroney woke up, she was on a bed in his hotel room, being abused by Nassar:
“I thought I was going to die that night.”
She went on to call out both USA Gymnastic and Michigan State for allowing the abuse to continue for so long.
After having her mother read her testimony on her behalf, Lemke decided to come forward herself to reveal that the abuse started when she was just 10 years old and continued as she became a scholarship athlete for MSU. She was one of the women to file a lawsuit against Nassar.
Also being sued is Lemke’s coach, John Geddert, who owned the gym where much of the abuse took place. Lemke labeled Geddert a coward and called out a handful of other individuals whom she believed are also guilty of enabling Nassar: USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny, former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages, and MSU president Lou Anna Simon.
Reeb was a dancer when she first bragged about being treated by the doctor who helped Olympian Kerry Strug. However, following Nassar’s heinous abuse, she went on to struggle with drinking and depression. It was after seeing an article about Nassar on Facebook in September 2016 that she began to let herself admit that she, too, was one of his victims.
Carr doubted the allegations against Nassar for a while before allowing herself to see that her doubt was just her way of avoiding the truth—that she was also a victim.
Cole first met with Nassar to have her back adjusted, but after being hospitalized for nerve pain that landed her in a wheelchair, Nassar was the only doctor who told her she would have the opportunity to play volleyball again.
She continued with her treatments with Nassar, bein and was abused countless times— even with her parents, siblings, and trainer in the room. She admitted:
“The last treatment I had with Larry, he mounted the table and penetrated my vagina, grunting and making inappropriate comments. […] Deep down in my gut, I knew something was wrong.”
Smith first visited Nassar after suffering an ankle injury at age 17, but she admitted that he would often find ways to penetrate her.
Nassar began abusing Guerrero, who is currently only 16 years old, at 11 years old. She admitted that she would “fake her period” so that Nassar wouldn’t touch her. As SI reports, “Guerero has not given up on gymnastics and will compete on Friday because she is not scared of Nassar anymore.”
Melody Posthuma Vanderveen:
Like some of the other victims, Vanderveen initially defended Nassar before realizing that she was also manipulated by him. She began treatment with Nassar at age 13.
Harrison, who attends MSU, says that after being abused by Nassar, she has her mom accompany her on appointments when they are with other male doctors.
This woman asked for her identity and story to remain anonymous.
Victim 11 and Victim 136:
These two victims are sisters.
Thelen admitted that Nassar would carry on conversations with her mother while blocking her view as he abused her. For decades, the memory of her time with Nassar almost destroyed Thelen.
After seeing Nassar for a severe hamstring injury, Rasmussen was touched inappropriately but nothing was ever done to help heal her hamstring. At 11 years old, Rasmussen first began to realize no one cared about what was happening to her.
Tarrant is a sergeant in the Marines. As she gave her statement via a video call, her parents stood in the courtroom and cried.
Katherine and Maureen Payne:
Katherine and Maureen’s mother, Dr. Mary Fischer Follmer read statements on their behalf. Maureen, who attended MSU, had a flashback to Nassar’s abuse when family members discussed a Michigan State basketball game. Katherine’s statement included this: “To the brave women who were able to speak, know that you are not alone.”
Wieber was a member of the 2012 Olympic team dubbed the Fierce Five and the fourth member of that team to come forward as a victim of Nassar’s. Wieber explained how she and her teammates would talk about Nassar’s “treatments” and how it made them feel.
She also discussed how a shin injury prevented her from being fully prepared for the London Olympics, and now she questions whether or not Nassar was actually doing anything to help her pain— or if he was too focused on who his next victim would be.
Zerfas admitted that while she too was a victim, it hurt her most when she learned that he also abused her teammates— “the girls she loved most.”
As a gymnast at CMU, Ursch dedicated her life to the sport of gymnastics. Sadly, everything changed her senior year of college after an appointment with Nassar lead to her being abused.
Kara and Maddie Johnson:
Maddie talked directly to Nassar, first telling him how anxious she would be prior to her appointments with him and how she convinced herself that the feeling she would get in the pit of her stomach was normal. She explained how Nassar would make her put on a large pair of shorts, make her lie stomach down on the table, and would stack white towels in order to obstruct her mom’s view of the “treatments.” She added that he would never assault her while her father, a D.O., was with her.
Kara, Maddie’s 15-year-old sister, followed. She detailed her two-hour long appointment with Nassar, saying that his initial adjustments helped relieve her pain, but that he went even further, and eventually molested her in the same way he molested her sister.
Like some of the others, Anderson made the decision to come forward at the last minute. She explained to the judge that talking about her abuse out loud is difficult for her, but that she would be doing herself and others a disservice by “shying away from what is now her truth.”
She also described the impact Nassar’s actions had on her parents, who have to live with the fact that they kept taking their daughter to visit a “sexual predator.”
Labadie detailed the moment she realized that she was abused by Nassar and the phone call she had with her mom the following day. She explained that she told her mom it wasn’t her fault, and that her mom was in shock over the fact that Nassar was able to molest her daughter even while she was in the room.
Yost met Nassar as a patient when she was 12, and later job-shadowed him while a 16-year-old high school student. He was the reason why she wanted to become a doctor and help gymnasts just like he did. That has all changed.
She detailed how Nassar would manipulate her during “treatments,” by holding full-on conversations with her, distracting her from what was really happening.
Raisman, a two-time Olympian, admitted that she didn’t think she would have the strength to testify against Nassar, but was inspired by the other survivors to do so. During her testimony, she looked directly at Nassar and said:
“You do realize now the women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time are now a force, and you are nothing.”
Powell was a member of MSU’s track and field team when she was abused by Nassar. Powell spoke directly to Nassar detailing the first time she had visited him for back pain and how he scared her into thinking she may have a cancerous tumor along her spine.
As she spoke, she looked at Nassar, calling him out for the confused look he gave her from the bench.
She admitted that Nassar’s abuse left her feeling broken, but that she is still standing and still fighting for a brighter future.
Ginter explained how doctor after doctor told her that there was nothing that could be done to help her intense hip pain, and was later referred to Nassar where she was touched inappropriately multiple times.
Gordon explained how sexual assault can be in many forms and how it needs to be talked about more often. She went on to say, “What we need is change, what we need is understanding, not for ourselves but for our daughters and our daughter’s daughters.”
While she did not wish to read her own statement, Hall said that for a long time she was scared to talk about the “treatments” she received from Nassar, which left her depressed and with trust issues.
Gillengerten never told anyone about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Nassar; it was her deepest and darkest secret for the last 16 years. Gillengerten is close friends with another one of Nassar’s victims, Dr. Danielle Moore. It was Moore who convinced her to tell her truth and report Nassar.
McDowell called Nassar her best friend, a person who was there for her from level five to level 10. She even called him by a nickname, “LarBear.” She mentioned how she even talked to Nassar after he was arrested in 2016 and how he was able to maintain her trust for a time after, but all that has changed.
Woolever didn’t think she would be able to share her story in such a public setting but pulled strength from the other survivors before her in order to share her story.
Morrow admitted she felt blessed to have the chance to read the poem she wrote inspired by Nassar to his face. The poem was titled, “The Monster.”
Pickel revealed how Nassar’s abuse left her unable to be around men in small spaces without fearing that one of them may try to harm her.
Alvarado detailed one of the appointments she had with Nassar where she told him that it hurt to have his fingers inside of her. He responded by telling her to “relax” and continued with the abuse. She was only 12.
During their time together as doctor-patient, McCaul looked up to Nassar. Although she aspired to be a ballerina, she also hoped to one day work alongside Nassar as a physician herself. Those dreams were ripped away from her in 2016, when she learned the person she trusted most was actually her abuser.
Gonczar called Nassar an “old friend” and knew him 31 of the 37 years she had been alive.. For many of those 31 years, she defended Nassar. It was only recently that she has finally allowed herself to see him for who he truly is: her abuser.
Gonczar admitted that she was in that courtroom in support of Nassar’s wife and his family. “I can’t believe what you have done to her,” she told Nassar.
Prior to making a statement of her own, both Boyce’s father and husband spoke to Nassar, shaming him for what he did to their girl for so many years. Boyce went on to say that the abuse she suffered at the hands of Nassar altered her life forever.
Lorencen explained that Nassar has ruined so many women with his abusive actions, and now it is their turn to come forward to ruin him. She continued by saying Nassar was only their first battle, but that the survivors’ “war is not over,” alluding to the repercussions that she believed should fall on MSU and USA Gymnastics.
Webb admitted that as she ascended the ranks as a gymnast, her visits to Nassar’s office became more frequent, happening at least once a week. She added that while she is angry with herself for not realizing she was being molested, she and her sister survivors need to stand up and fight so that this sort of thing never happens again.
Mergens admitted that she was molested by Nassar on two different occasions when she was only 11 years old. The abuse left her fearful of others people in the medical field even though she knows the doctors and therapists she sees now truly want to help her.
The expecting mother, abused by Nassar as a child, is now a practicing medical professional. She admitted that “ironically” it was her childhood admiration that led to her practicing medicine. She admitted that she still struggles with coming to terms that her abuse was about Nassar and not her.
Syrovy said during her statement:
“During treatments, one hand would be on my low back, massaging, and one hand would be between my legs with his fingers inside me. I would cry. I would cry because it hurt.”
He would tell her, despite her tears, that he needed to really get there in order to help her back pain.
Emma Ann Miller:
Miller is only 15 years old but wanted to come forward to share her story. Her last appointment with Nassar was in August 2016, probably making her “the last child he will ever assault.”
Her mother is still being billed by MSU.
Smith would tell herself to “suck it up” when being “treated” by Nassar because he was a “doctor and a God.”
Livingston told the judge that Nassar gave her gifts from his time working with Olympians as if to say “look at me and don’t question me” and that’s exactly what she did. She explained that her dad was in the room at the time of the abuse, but that she didn’t know how to talk about what she was experiencing with him. He died never knowing that he was around while his daughter was being abused by Nassar.
Two anonymous victims:
These victims approached the podium together but wished to not be identified by the media.
Alliree Gingerish, Kourtney Weidner, Sharla Burill, Breanne Rata, Erin McCann, Katherine Hannum, Morgan Margraves, Victim 138, Victim 127, Victim 142, Victim 162, Victim 185, Victim 73 and Victim 165:
These women couldn’t give their statement themselves but asked the judge to hear their stories.
Burns was another survivor who pulled from the strength of her peers before deciding to come forward. She admitted that it was when the first victims began coming forward that she first realized she was a victim herself.
Hutchis admitted that she was in denial for a long time and that if it wasn’t for the judge’s decision to extend the sentencing hearing that she wouldn’t have been given the chance to share her story.
During her statement, she read from a card she received from Nassar years ago, which was signed “love ya, girl.”
While she didn’t share her testimony herself, Ashcraft asked that the judge hear it anyway.
For the last year, Woodland spent her time trying to ignore everything that had happened to her and the emotions that came along with it. She realized that it would be impossible to keep her story to herself.
Swinehart, still a minor, admitted she was abused hundreds of times starting at the age of 8. She added that some of the abuse even occurred at Nassar’s home.
Chauvette says it was the abuse she suffered at the hands of Nassar that caused her to lose the sparkle in her eye, something even her freshman year teachers noticed and alerted her parents too.
Dayton admitted that on September 16, 2016, she sent Nassar words of encouragement as a way of justifying her abuse and avoiding saying the words “me too.” She no longer wishes to hide.
Sara 126, Olivia Venuto, Jessica Howard, Alexandra Romano:
Unable to be in court, Venuto asked to have the judge hear her story.
Castillo was only eight when she began seeing Nassar. Nassar told her that she would have to endure pain in order to be successful in the sport of gymnastics.
She admitted that it took years for Nassar to figure out one her back injuries, but that one look at her MRI by another doctor gave her a correct diagnosis. She now wonders if she was intentionally not diagnosed by the “world-renowned doctor” in order to prolong her treatment.
As the first woman to speak publicly about Nassar’s abuse, she said, in part:
“I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight of guilt, so you can experience true repentance. […] You have shut yourself off from every good thing in this world that could have and should have brought you fulfillment. I pity you for it. You have fashioned for yourself a prison that’s far, far, worse than any I could ever put you in.”
Dearly will update this report as more stories become available.
You can watch Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s testimonies in full below: