VIDEO: Rachael DenHollander, first to file criminal charges, speaks last at Larry Nassar sentencing
DenHollander slams MSU, USAG in sexual abuse cases
LANSING – Rachael DenHollander was the first person to file criminal charges against Nassar. On Wednesday, she addressed him during his sentencing hearing.
DenHollander now lives in Louisville, Kentucky. She said when she first started seeing Nassar as a girl, she knew that some therapists practice internal manipulation. Initially, she assumed what he was doing was a medical procedure.
"Larry sought out and took pleasure in little girls and women being sexually injured and violated because he liked it," Rachael DenHollander told the court.
DenHollander took aim at MSU and USA Gymnastics during her victim statement.
"Victims were silenced, intimidated, and even forced to go back for treatment," DenHollander told the court, referring to MSU. "Do your employees have a duty to protect children or not?"
“You have become a man ruled by selfish and perverted desires,” she told Nassar, who worked at the university and USA Gymnastics, the governing body that also trains Olympians.
"At 15, I believed that the adults at [MSU] surrounding Larry would do the right thing, if they were aware of what Larry was doing. And I was terribly wrong."
“I didn’t know that at the same time Larry was penetrating me, USA [Gymnastics] was burying complaints deep in a filing cabinet," DenHollander told the court.
DenHollander talked about coaching after the abuse: "My little baby gymnast was sent to Larry before I knew a decision had been made to do so. Her family moved away, almost immediately thereafter. And I wept for that little girl."
"You used your own daughter to manipulate me. And every time I held my babies, I prayed to God you would leave your abuse in the exam room and not take it home to the little girl born with black hair just like her daddy," Rachael DenHollander told Nassar.
"You have lost the ability to enjoy love and goodness," DenHollander said to Nassar. "And I pity you for that."
Watch her full statement in the above video player.
Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing area, but the sentencing hearing has been open to anyone who said they were a victim. His accusers said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them, often without explanation, while they were on a table seeking help for various injuries.
The accusers, many of whom were children, said they trusted Nassar to care for them properly, were in denial about what was happening or were afraid to speak up. He sometimes used a sheet or his body to block the view of any parent in the room.
During Day 1 of sentencing, several victims spoke on the record about the abuse they endured from the former gymnastics doctor. Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber were in court on Friday. Wieber was the first to speak on Friday - watch her statement here.
Ex-gymnast tells disgraced doctor: ‘You only hurt me’
A former elite gymnast said Tuesday that a sports doctor who treated Olympic athletes overlooked what turned out to be a broken leg while he molested her in the basement of his home, one of the latest victims to testify at a Michigan sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar.
Isabell Hutchins practiced for weeks at a Lansing-area gymnastics club and even competed at national events despite acute leg pain as a teen in 2011. She said Nassar did nothing to encourage her to get help and instead molested her during late-night appointments at his home.
“You were never a real doctor. You did not heal me. You only hurt me,” Hutchins told Nassar, who was seated a few feet away in the Ingham County courtroom as the sentencing phase reached a sixth day.
Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which is the sport’s national governing organization and trains Olympians. His accusers said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them, often without explanation, while they were on a table seeking treatment for a variety of injuries.
The accusers, many of whom were children, said they trusted Nassar to treat them properly, were in denial about what was happening or were afraid to speak up. He sometimes used a sheet or his body to block the view of any parent in the room.
‘Enjoy hell:’ Doctor’s sentence next for assaulting gymnasts
After listening to the riveting pleas of more than 150 victims, a judge is set to sentence a Michigan doctor who parlayed his reputation and personal charm into years of sexual abuse by molesting Olympic gymnasts and other young female athletes instead of solving their sports injuries.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina will hear from a few more victims and then send Larry Nassar to prison Wednesday, the seventh day of a remarkable hearing that has given the girls, young women and their parents a chance to confront him in court. He faces a minimum prison term of 25 to 40 years but it could go higher.
Among those expected to speak on the last day: Rachael Denhollander, a Kentucky woman who contacted Michigan State University police in 2016 after reading reports about how USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, mishandled complaints of sexual misconduct. Nassar worked at Michigan State and also was the national gymnastics squad’s doctor.
Nassar, 54, eventually pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing area, including Denhollander, but the sentencing hearing has been open to anyone who said they were a victim. His accusers said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them, often without explanation, while they were on a table seeking help for various injuries.
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