Last week’s sentencing hearing for convicted serial pedophile Larry Nassar drew a wave of emotional testimony from his victims.
Originally planned for four days with 88 women scheduled to confront the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor for using his status and office to sexually abuse young girls, the hearing has been extended into next week as up to 120 of his victims seek to make in impact statement to their abuser in court.
One of those victims who spoke last week is former Team USA gymnast Aly Raisman, who joined fellow Olympic gold medalists McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles in publicly accusing Nassar of his crimes.
Raisman’s statement in court, which she was inspired to make after watching other victims come forward earlier in the week, was powerful and poignant, drawing applause from a court room that had witnessed a flood of emotional testimony from 72 other women.
“Larry, you do realize that this group of women you heartlessly abused over a long period of time are now a force. And you are nothing,” Raisman said to Nassar. “The tables have turned, Larry. We are here. We have our voices. And we are not going anywhere.
“Imagine how it feels to be an innocent teenager in a foreign country, hearing a knock on the door and it is you. I don’t want you to be there. But I don’t have a choice. … Lying on my stomach with you on my bed, insisting that your inappropriate touch would heal my pain. … You are so sick I can’t comprehend how angry I feel when I think of you.”
While Nassar’s crimes and sentencing are forcing a public reckoning at USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee, Michigan State is also forced to deal with its role in allowing Nassar to commit his crimes under their purview.
The Detroit News reports that up to 14 MSU staffers were aware of reports of Nassar’s sexual misconduct while working for the school dating back to 1997. There have been repeated calls for MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon to resign. An investigation from the Michigan attorney general’s office has just recently begun.
The issue came up with MSU’s most prominent public figure, head men’s basketball Tom Izzo, on Friday after a home game against Indiana. He was asked about his thoughts on Simon and the scrutiny MSU finds itself facing during the Nassar hearing.
Citing a long-term professional relationship with Simon, he supported the MSU president while expressing his own personal feelings.
“It’s been a difficult week for me,” Izzo said. … As a father, that’s difficult to fathom. I hope the right person was convicted.
“And there is no way I could waver on the support for my administration or my president knowing the 35 years I have spent here on what she has done for this university, what she has stood for — not only athletics, that’s a small part.”
The entirety of his response, as reported by the Detroit Free Press, can be read below.
Here is the full statement from MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo on his support for Larry Nassar's victims and for MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. pic.twitter.com/vFe5bGpf5z
— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) January 20, 2018
Izzo’s statment got back to Raisman’s mother, Lynn Raisman, who posted a critical response to Izzo’s words on Twitter late Saturday.
Dear Tom Izzo,
I'm sorry it's been a difficult week for you. Did you hear, Larry Nassar also said it was difficult. Since you "hope the right person was convicted" I wonder if you are a complete and total MORON or just a LIAR when you claim you listened to the impact statements. https://t.co/CIdiTPtXa1
— Lynn Raisman (@LynnRaisman) January 20, 2018
The Free Press reached out to Michigan State seeking a comment on Raisman’s comments from Izzo, but had yet to receive a response at the time of this post.
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