And, in Michigan, female gymnasts who survived sexual assault and abuse by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar testified against him on the first day of his sentencing Tuesday. Nassar has already admitted to sexually abusing the athletes when they were children and adolescents, and then covering up the abuse by pretending it was part of a medical treatment.
Nearly 140 women have come forward to accuse Nassar of abuse, including exposing himself in front of them, rubbing his genitals against their bodies and penetrating their vaginas with his fingers. Among his accusers are Olympic gymnasts, including gold medalist Simone Biles.
The first woman to testify at Tuesday’s hearing was Kyle Stephens, who said Nassar began abusing her when she was only 6 years old. Another woman who testified at Tuesday’s hearing was Donna Markham, the mother of former gymnast Chelsea Markham, who was sexually abused by Nassar when she was only 10 years old. Chelsea went on to commit suicide in 2009.
Donna Markham: “In 2009, she took her own life, because she couldn’t deal with the pain anymore. It will be 10 years in March that I lost my baby. She was 23 years old. She would have been 33 now. And every day I miss her. Every day. And it all started with him. It all started with him and just became worse as the years went by, until she couldn’t deal with it anymore.”
Larry Nassar faces decades in prison on charges of sexually assaulting and abusing minors. He has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison after being convicted on child pornography charges in a separate case.