Doctor Who Abused Gymnasts Gets 60-Year Sentence in Child Pornography Case


Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar in court last month. Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, a former team doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics who has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment, was sentenced on Thursday to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges.

The charges, which stemmed from more than 37,000 images of child pornography found on Dr. Nassar’s computer, are separate from the 10 molestation counts on which sentences will be handed down in January. He pleaded guilty to the pornography charges over the summer, and to the molestation charges in November.

Dr. Nassar, 54, is expected to be sentenced to 25 years or more on the molestation charges. But even without that, he is virtually certain to spend the rest of his life in prison after Janet T. Neff, a federal district judge in Grand Rapids, Mich., imposed three consecutive 20-year sentences in the child pornography case.

His lawyers, Matthew Newburg and Shannon Smith, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

The case against Dr. Nassar emerged last year, after an Indianapolis Star investigation found that U.S.A. Gymnastics, the sport’s national governing body, had systematically failed to report gymnasts’ allegations of sexual abuse by coaches. Then, in September 2016, The Star published detailed accounts from two former gymnasts who said that, among other sexually abusive behavior, Dr. Nassar had penetrated them with his fingers, claiming it was a treatment for back pain.

Jeanette Antolin, left, a former member of the United States national gymnastics team, and Tiffany Thomas, a former Michigan State softball player, are among more than 100 women who have accused Dr. Nassar of molestation. Mike Clark | Mlive.Com/The Grand Rapids Press, via Associated Press

Those two gymnasts — Rachael Denhollander, who was the first to step forward by name, and Jamie Dantzscher, who initially remained anonymous but later spoke out publicly — broke a dam of silence in the sport, more than a year before the #MeToo movement began revealing sexual misconduct by innumerable men in powerful positions. More than 130 women — mostly but not exclusively gymnasts — have now described abuse by Dr. Nassar (who worked both for the national team and for Michigan State University). Among them are at least seven former members of the United States national gymnastics team, including four Olympians.

Source: The New York Times