Olympian Aly Raisman Confronts Abuser Larry Nassar, Delivers Powerful Speech During Sentencing Hearing
By Brian Haas
Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman didn't mince words on Friday in court when facing Larry Nassar, the former doctor who abused her and at least six other gymnasts.
"Larry, you do realize now that we, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time, are now a force, and you are nothing," Raisman told Nassar in a scathing, nearly 15-minute statement at his sentencing in a Michigan courtroom. "The tables have turned, Larry. We are here, we have our voices and we are not going anywhere."
Raisman, who won two gold medals for the U.S. women's gymnastics team at the 2012 Olympics and another gold at the 2016 Olympics, is one of about 150 women who have accused Nassar of sexual abuse going back three decades in connection with his work as a doctor with USA Gymnastics. Nassar has pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct and is facing a minimum of 25 years in prison. He has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for possession of child pornography.
Raisman was one of many women speaking as part of Nassar's sentencing this week in Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing, Michigan. On Thursday, her former teammate, McKayla Maroney, gave her own statement in court, calling Nasser "a monster of a human being" who deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison.
But Raisman's criticism on Friday wasn't limited to the former doctor. She blasted USA Gymnastics and the Olympics, saying the organizations failed to properly address the initial accusations and said that the organizations still aren't doing enough.
"Neither USA Gymnastics nor the USOC have reached out to express sympathy or even offer support. Not even to ask, how did this happen? What do you think we can do to help?" Raisman asked. "Why have I and others here, probably, not heard anything from the leadership at the USOC? Why has the United States Olympic Committee been silent? Why isn’t the USOC here right now?"
The accusations against Nassar come at the height of the powerful #MeToo movement, a grassroots effort to empower victims of sexual misconduct that grew out of the Harvey Weinstein scandals to include dozens of similar accusations against people in positions of power. Raisman's powerful court statement drew widespread praise for her courage and candor.
"So proud of you @alyraisman you are an inspiration to us all and have helped so many people," comedian Amy Schumer wrote on Instagram.
Raisman's ferocious statement did not let up as she asked for the harshest possible sentence and warned that she and other sexual abuse survivors are only just getting started.
"Your honor, I ask you to give Larry the strongest possible sentence, which his actions deserve, for by doing so you will send a message to him and to other abusers that they cannot get away with their horrible crimes. They will be exposed for the evil they are, and they will be punished to the maximum extent of the law," she said. "Let this sentence strike fear in anyone who thinks it is OK to hurt another person. Abusers, your time is up. The survivors are here, standing tall and we are not going anywhere."