Larry Nassar to judge: Listening to sex abuse victims is 'mental cruelty'

Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor who has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual assault and has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for possession of child pornography, complained to the judge in a Michigan courtroom Thursday that listening to four days of victim impact statements was “detrimental to his mental health.”

Nassar, 54, told Judge Rosemarie Aquilina in a six-page letter that she was creating a “four-day media circus,” and suggested the dozens of statements already issued by his alleged victims were being used to ensure the “cameras will be directed toward” the judge.

Responding to Nassar’s complaint as part of the hearing, Aquilina acknowledged the disgraced doctor’s recollection of nearly fainting at his December hearing but otherwise refused to play the sympathy card in the wake of 50-plus statements against Nassar.

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Thomas Brennan, a coach to Gwen Anderson, glares at Larry Nassar while Anderson speaks of Nassar’s sexual assaults Thursday.  USATSI

“You may find it harsh that you are here listening,” the judge is seen telling Nassar in video from the courtroom. “But nothing is as harsh than what your victims endured for thousands of hours at your hands. 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.”

Aquilina later went on to say she would extend the hearing if it meant allowing additional victims the opportunity to speak.

Former Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, who may have faced a $ 100,000 fine for publicly commenting on Nassar if not for a USA Gymnastics announcement this week, was not among those who personally appeared at Thursday’s edition of the hearing. But she, one of several former USA Gymnastics standouts to allege Nassar of sexual abuse, did provide an impact statement, which was read aloud.

In it, Maroney calls Nassar a “monster of a human being,” saying the former doctor “abused my body and … left scars on my psyche that will never go away.” The gymnast also criticized both MSU and USA Gymnastics for overlooking “red flags” in Nassar’s behavior.

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