Nassar awaits sentence for sexual abuse

Nassar awaits sentence for sexual abuse

Nassar awaits sentence for sexual abuse

Disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar faced a sentence of life in prison Wednesday for sexual abuse after a week of gut-wrenching victim impact statements from dozens of girls and women he treated.

Nassar, 54, has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct.

He was scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday in Michigan on seven of the counts, with a separate sentence on the final three charges to be handed down at the end of the month.

Nassar, who had also been employed for decades by Michigan State University, has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

The body overseeing US collegiate sports, the NCAA, opened an investigation Tuesday into the university's handling of the Nassar case.

The presiding judge at Nassar's sentencing hearing has received approximately 158 victim impact statements, according to prosecutors. The list of people asking to speak -- with Nassar in court -- tripled since the hearing began a week ago.

One of them, Alison Chauvette, on Tuesday said Nassar's abusive behavior was so brazen, common and unchecked that she and fellow gymnasts discussed his strange treatments and simply assumed they must be legitimate.

"We young girls were fooled, but the world should not have been. USAG, Michigan State University and society all failed to keep us safe," she said.

Like star gymnast Aly Raisman, many victims have criticized not just Nassar's actions but the inaction of US Olympics and gymnastics officials, and Michigan State University.

Mattie Larson, a decorated former member of the US national team, called on lawmakers to pass a new bill that would require amateur athletics organizations to report allegations of sexual misconduct.

"I was shocked to learn that this law did not already exist," Larson said, calling on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to schedule a vote for the bill that has already cleared the US Senate.

"We must ensure that legal steps are made to prevent anything of this nature and magnitude from happening again," she said.

Raisman slammed the US Olympic Committee for not acknowledging its role in the scandal.

The  23-year-old addressed the resignation of three top executives from the USA Gymnastics board of directors as well as comments from USOC president Scott Blackmun.

"The USOC released a statement shamelessly taking credit for a few USAG resignations (note: not fired) as though they're addressing the problem," tweeted the six-time Olympic medalist late Monday, renewing her calls for an independent investigation into USA Gymnastics.

"They are still not acknowledging its own role in this mess. ZERO accountability! It's like none of us were ever abused!"

Raisman hit out in particular at Blackmun's comment that "USA Gymnastics needs to focus on supporting the brave survivors" -- as too little, too late.

"Was the USOC there to 'focus on the brave survivors'? No," she wrote. "Did they issue any statement then? Crickets."

Chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley stepped down from the USA Gymnastics board of directors after stinging criticism of how the governing body handled the case by Nassar's accusers, who include Rio Olympic superstar Simone Biles.

Blackmun's statement said the USOC had been in talks with USA Gymnastics pushing for change since last October.

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