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Judge rips into Larry Nassar: ‘You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again’

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Judge Rosemarie Aquilina ripped into former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar on Wednesday as she sentenced him to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexual assault, telling him: “I just signed your death warrant.”

“Your decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable,” Aquilina said during the sentencing.

Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing, Mich., area, but the sentencing hearing was open to anyone who said they were a victim. His accusers said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them while they sought treatment for injuries.

During the sentencing, Aquilina read from a letter that was written by Nassar before the seven-day sentencing hearing, in which he called his prior punishments for child pornography crimes “not fair.”

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“‘I was a good doctor,’” Nassar wrote, according to Aquilina. “‘Those patients that are now speaking out, are the same ones that praised [me] and came back over and over. . . The media convinced them everything was wrong. They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.’”

People in the court room audibly gasped as Aquilina finished reading at the passage.

Throwing down the letter in disbelief, the judge asked Nassar: “Would you like to withdraw your plea?”

“No, your honor,” he replied, his voice breaking.

“Because you are guilty, aren’t you?” Aquilina followed up.

When Nassar did not reply, she asked again forcefully: “Are you guilty, sir?”

“I’ve said my plea, exactly,” Nassar replied.

“It was not treatment what you did. It was not medical. There was no medical evidence that was ever brought,” Aquilina told him.

Moments earlier, Nassar had apologized and said the testimony of more than 150 accusers had ‘‘shaken me to my core.’’

‘‘I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days,’’ he said.

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However, Aquilina was not convinced that Nassar felt any remorse.

“I find that you don’t get it. That you’re a danger. You remain a danger,” she said. “I’m a judge who believes in life and rehabilitation when rehabilitation is possible. . . I don’t find that’s possible with you.”

She also told him that it was her “honor and privilege” to hand down the sentence.

‘‘You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again. You have done nothing to control those urges and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable,’’ Aquilina said.

The judge also told those who spoke out against Nassar: “You are no longer victims. You are survivors. You are very strong.”


Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.