As she prepared to issue a sentence, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina gave a powerful statement standing up for victims who experienced sexual abuse at the hands of ex-USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, as well as the countless other stories of such misconduct that go unreported every year.
The focus of Aquilina’s message was: “It stops now.”
Just before she addressed the courtroom in Lansing, Michigan, Nassar offered a brief statement of his own — apologizing for damaging the lives of his victims and saying this experience has “shaken me to my core.”
The judge responded to Nassar’s words with the following:
“I hope you are shaken to your core. Your victims are clearly shaken to the core…Before I get to sentencing, I want to talk about a couple of things. First, I said what I needed to say to the victims. You are no longer victims. You are survivors. You’re very strong. And I’ve addressed you individually. Before I say anything further, I don’t know if you all know this, and I know that the world is watching, I know this because I’m at the bench every day and this isn’t the only case of this crime that appears in this court… 310 out of every 1,000 assaults are reported to police, which means that two out of three go unreported.”
Aquilina continued addressing the victims whose stories go untold.
“That means that in the United States — I’m not talking about any other country — but in the United States, 400,000 babies born in the US will become victims of child sexual abuse,” she said. “It stops now. These survivors are part of the army.”
After issuing a blistering rebuke of Nassar — and his previous comments rejecting the accusations — Judge Aquilina sentenced him to 40-175 years in prison, declaring “I just signed your death warrant.”
During the past several days, numerous victims have gone up to the Lansing, Michigan podium to tell the court about the abuse Nassar inflicted on them over the course of many years. A total of 156 victims came forward against the disgraced coach.
For this behavior, the Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis stated Nassar — who she called “possibly the most prolific child sexual abuser in history” — should receive a minimum of a 40 year prison sentence.
Watch above, via MSNBC.
[image via screengrab]
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