Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing is now in it’s sixth day, and by the end of yesterday over 100 victims had stepped up to provide victim impact statements. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office says that it expects 120 women and girls to give victim impact statements at the weeks-long hearing, before Nassar is officially sentenced.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina gave permission for every one of Nassar’s victims to address him, should they choose to, before she hands down his sentence later this week. The hearing is unusual, in that it is rare that a Judge allows this many victim impact statements to be shared in court.
Nassar wrote to the Judge about the victim impact statements
Shortly before the victim impact statements began, Nassar wrote a letter to Judge Aquilina asking that he be allowed to sit out of the victim impact statements. The reason, he explained, was that he didn’t believe his fragile mental state could withstand the onslaught of pain and accusations he expected from his victims.
In response, Judge Aquilina called it “mumbo jumbo,” and told him in no uncertain terms to stop complaining. “Spending four or five days listening to them is significantly minor considering the hours of pleasure you’ve had at their expense and ruining their lives. None of this should come as a surprise to you.”
He also accused her of running a media circus!
Nassar’s letter also criticised the Judge for running what he called, a “four day media circus.” Judge Aquilina was having none of it, and told Nassar that given the nature of his crimes, it should come as no surprise that the media is interested in his trial. She also told him that she’d given him the benefit of the doubt up until he made his guilty plea.
“I did everything I can to make sure you had a fair and impartial trial.” Judge Aquilina said in addressing Nassar’s letter. But as she pointed out to him, the media are “clearly focused on you and your acts!” In total, she dismissed the letter as not being worth the paper it was written on.
The court has tried to accommodate the victims during their testimony
Testifying about a sexual assault is hard, especially when you are the one who endured it, and you’re now confronting your abuser face-to-face. However the Ingham County Circuit Court has done what they can to accommodate the many women and girls who’ve arrived to confront Nassar.
One of these efforts involves Preston the Therapy dog, who stands outside the courtroom, ready and available to comfort those who need emotional support during the process. Preston is a black lab who works as a therapy dog at Small Talk Children’s Assessment Center in Lansing. Small Talk is nonprofit serving child survivors of physical or sexual abuse. Preston also provides his services through the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, to children testifying in court in Ingham County.
Nassar will spend decades behind bars for his crimes
In November, Nassar pled guilty to seven counts of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Ingham County, and three in Eaton County. Although we’ll have to wait and see what Judge Aquilina decides with regard to his sentence, Michigan sentencing guidelines state that the minimum shouldn’t be lower than 25 years, and the maximum shouldn’t exceed 40 years.
If you or a loved one have been accused of sexually assaulting a child in Michigan, you’re going to need expert help from a skilled and experienced defense attorney. Being accused of abusing a child, whether it’s physical or sexual abuse, or neglect, can have a profound impact on your life, even if you’re never convicted. So call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. We’re here to help you through this.