Day One is complete; Nassar hearing to continue Friday
Court will resume on Friday, February 2 at 8:30 a.m. with more victim statements. Judge Cunningham said there are 30 victims scheduled to speak.
The last three statements of the day were read by the Attorney General's office but none of them were anonymous. Annette Hill provided a short statement, followed by Olivia Cowan and Jennifer Hayes. Olivia spoke of the nightmares and anxiety that she has and said that the pain "will never really pass." She ended her statement with optimism saying, "Scars will remind me the past is real but the future is bright." Jennifer Hayes was known as victim #112 and number 29 speaking on Wednesday. She was a figure skater and student at MSU. She said in her statement that when Nassar first saw her for treatment that he warned her "some find what I'm going to do is a little uncomfortable." She agreed that it was. She said he penetrated her with ungloved hands for 15 minutes at each appointment. She said he was "touching and manipulating areas not even close to my back." In her statement she had a number of questions for Nassar like, "why wasn't this procedure on the notes on my chart?, and "why was your groin up against my body," and finally, "how could you subject me and others to infectious diseases?"
The next couple of statements read after Jessica's were anonymous. Someone from the Attorney General's office read the statements. One victim wrote that she was 14 years-old when she saw Nassar for a diving injury. She said that it wasn't until 2016 when she saw the headline of the Indy Star article that she knew it was Larry Nassar and that she had been assaulted. "I realized I was abused, how could I not know what was going on?" she asked herself. The other anonymous victim stated that she saw Nassar in 1999 after an injury she received at Twistars. She said, "I defended your name, I thought you were a healer but it turns out you were a monster." She ended her statement with this, "Stand up, speak up, time is up."
The statement provided by Jessica Chedler-Day-Rodriguez was on video. She talked about her "17 year-old stellar gymnastics career" and how she first met Larry Nassar when she was part of USA Gymnastics in 1997. Since the article came out and the allegations against Nassar, Jessica said she is frightened to leave her 5-year-old daughter alone at daycare or with a babysitter. She is afraid that she will be abused. Jessica said to Nassar, "You did not help my back pain." But she added, you are helping create awareness in our society, referring to sexual abuse of children.
Victim 231 wanted to be known as Brie. She started her statement by saying, "Larry was my light at the end of a stressful day." But when he treated her, he would touch her inappropriately. She said that one time, when his hand was on her breast and his eyes were closed, that she questioned if it gave pleasure to him." As a gymnast, she felt she had no choice but to see him for her injuries. She said that she was told by her coach, "be treated or give up the sport I love." She signed her statement as a MSU Athlete.
More anonymous statements were read by the Attorney General's office. One victim was assaulted in the fall of 1998 after experiencing back and hamstring pain at Twistars. This victim said she was alone with Nassar during the treatments and that he did not have permission from her parents. She said, "the vast number of victims have brought me to my knees."
Chelsea DeLamielleure, a softball player at Central Michigan University, saw Larry Nassar for treatment for an injured back in 2012. She was referred to Nassar as the best. When she met him, along with her parents, she said he made sure her parents "were big fans of Larry Nassar." That was just the beginning of the manipulation. Chelsea said she walked into his office in physical pain, and walked out "feeling gross." She saw Nassar for four years. It created issues for her at school, she had bad anxiety and depression. She said she was abused by him "at every appointment." Talking to Nassar she said she told him that she felt better so "you wouldn't touch me with your bare hands anymore."
The Attorney General's office read the statement from Laura Scudder. Laura loved gymnastics since she was 2-years-old. She met Nassar at age 11. She said that Larry was in med school at that time. He befriended her family and they all attended his wedding. She said that when she looks back at what happened she "thought I did something wrong." She remained anonymous but said, "I am speaking up today for the countless survivors who have not yet found their voice." She requested from the judge a maximum sentence for Nassar and ended her statement by saying, "we as a society must not tolerate sexual abuse."
Autumn Blainey's statement was read by the Attorney General's office. Autumn had been anonymous but Wednesday in her statement she said, "I am not afraid to tell my story anymore" She said that when she met Larry she thought he was nice. But she added, "he hurt me. He stole my happiness, trust and zest for life." Autumn said she was molested by Nassar for 30 - 40 minutes when she was 11 years-old. She spoke up and said to him, "I don't like this," and he replied, "I know," but that didn't stop him.
The 17th and 18th speakers were anonymous but their statements were read in the courtroom by the Attorney General's office.
Eve Petrie spoke in the company of her parents. She is a minor and saw Nassar in 2012 for back pain. She said that after one appointment there was a positive change in her back. She continued to see Nassar for three years, and although her back did feel better, she stated that she was sexually abused during all three years. She said she would leave the appointments "feeling uncomfortable or out of control." And once she heard about the other survivors, "things began to make sense."
Lindsay Medrano's statement was read by the Attorney General's office. She started off by saying that she was not a gymnast or a neighbor but that her "back was a freak of nature." Her first treatment, she says, was with her mother in the room. Treatments after that she was alone and that's when the abuse occurred. She said she would hold back tears during the treatment, that she knew something was off. When Lindsay learned off the allegations against Nassar she said, "I knew something was wrong with those treatments." She said that she buried the trauma, and asked, "Why was no one ever in the room with us?"
After a lunch break court resumed with more victim statements. The first one, number 14 for the day, was sent in the form of a video from Chloe Myers. Her mother and father were in the courtroom to witness it. Chloe shared that the first time she saw Nassar was on New Year's Eve after his office was closed, which she thought was weird. She saw him for 6 months and when the news broke about the allegations she couldn't believe it. In November 2017, she realized she was sexually abused too. She said in her statement, "My heart was shattered."
Erin Blayer, a 17-year-old victim, spoke before the lunch break. She told the court that she had experienced mystery back pain and spasms and was referred to Nassar by the MSU men's basketball team doctor. She saw Nassar between the age of 12 and 15, for sometimes a 2-hour appointment. She said, "You manipulated my back and with it my mind, my 15-year-old mind." She said when the news broke that she thought "these women were doing it for the attention," she said, "it can't be true." She denied ever feeling uncomfortable with Nassar when asked. But now she is "struggling with a new reality of being a victim." Erin has been sick, and had depression and anxiety since the allegations against Nassar have become public. She says she was blinded to the truth, but now is here to move on, and she said, "leave you in my past."
The next victim was away at school so her mother read the victim statement of Chandler Lynn. Lynn's story starts with her mother recounting the experience Lynn had receiving treatment from Nassar, with her mother in the room. Lynn said that she asked Nassar why he had his eyes closed during treatment and she said that his answer was because he was "thinking very hard." She read that Nassar put acupuncture needles in her stomach, and in an area where she had to pull down her pants. When she later saw a different doctor, the needles were placed in her back, where the pain was. She wrote that she hated herself for never questioning Nassar. When confronted about the abuse, she said she lied and refused to accept that what he did to her was wrong. She wrote, "You Larry did not save me, you ruined me. What saved me was the 150 women who spoke out."
A strong speech was given by Amy Preston, a mother of one of the abused gymnasts. She talked about how Larry Nassar was such a saint, that he brought her daughter food and gifts and she trusted him along with her daughter. "The saint we all loved and adored." During her daughter's treatments, her daughter wanted to quit gymnastics. Her daughter told her mother this and her mother suggested that she call Larry and ask him what he thought. The decision was made and her daughter quit. Amy Preston said once the news broke that she couldn't believe it. She said she regretted the trust she gave him and the "blind adoration." Her daughter was almost 17 when the story of the allegations came out. It took her a while to accept what was being said. It wasn't until September 2017 when her daughter acknowledged the abuse and became suicidal.
The next two victims were anonymous.
The 9th victim in court was Mya Covey. Mya said that when she was injured and needed to see Nassar that everyone told her to trust him. "I felt what you did to me was my fault," she said with her voice shaking. She ended her quick statement strong saying, "my voice matters."
Katherine Ebert spoke 8th. She started her statement by saying how "gymnastics was the love of my life." And when she was injured she said she remembered feeling "so grateful" to see Larry Nassar. Katherine was 15-years-old when she saw Nassar for a knee injury. She said she "got a strange feeling when his hands were too far up my thigh for a knee injury." He then got on the table to test her flexibility range and his finger brushed her vagina. She was uncomfortable and her mother, who was in the room, got up to see what Nassar was doing. He quickly removed his hand according to Ebert. She noticed a "bulge" in his pants as he moved around the table. Katherine says she had to tell herself "he's a doctor" and it must be okay. She says she felt "broken." Due to her depression, she was eventually hospitalized in June 2015 for 8 days at the age of 18. She was even cutting herself. She said to Nassar, "scum of the earth is too high of a title for you."
Then she turned her anger to MSU. She said, "as a student of Michigan State I am completely heartbroken." She called the board of trustees "uneducated sociopaths that feel no remorse." She also said, "talk is cheap, but my tuition is not." She ended her statement by saying how critically important it is to teach children the signs of sexual abuse. And then she looked at Nassar and said, "have fun in prison Larry, now it's your turn to be abused."
The next victim to speak was again, a woman who had been anonymous but gained the courage to speak after hearing all of the survivors speak last week. Tiffany Dutton had fears about coming out publicly but said, "due to other brave women, I am no longer fearful." She said she felt privileged to see Larry Nassar. But after the assaults, she became depressed with "crippling anxiety." She said it was February 2016 when she saw a story on Nassar on the news that she knew her intuition was right. She said, "It takes a monster to sexually assault a child." She spoke of her 2-year-old daughter and her fears for her. She hopes she can protect her, she even fears putting her in daycare. She ended by saying that she "wants all daughters to see and know their worth, even your daughters Larry."
The fifth victim to speak wanted to remain anonymous in front of the TV cameras. During her statement, Nassar was visibly upset, shaking and holding back tears.
Another victim came forward next that did not want to be publicly known prior. "Victim F" in Ingham County had her statement read by the Attorney General's office. Madison Bonofiglio first met Larry Nassar when she was 8 years-old. On his table he would ask her if his treatment was helping, she says she always replied, "it's not helping." She was abused by Nassar for 6 years from 12 - 18 years-old. And even though it didn't help her, he always started the procedures the same way. She even spoke of the time that she was on her menstrual cycle and he still found a way to abuse her anally. She said that it took a long time for her to see him as an awful human being. Madison told the court that she constantly had a feeling a being dirty, that she wanted to wash off the guilt and the shame. She ended her statement by asking for the maximum sentence possible for Nassar. And stated that the gymnastics culture, "created a perfect environment for Larry to flourish."
The third victim impact statement was read by the Attorney General's office. It was from "victim B" who is Bailey Lorencen. Bailey went public on Wednesday for the first time. She was assaulted by Nassar after hurting her back while performing at Twistars. She was receiving negative feedback from John Geddert and vented to Larry Nassar about it. He listened and even gave her his phone number. She said, "I thought Larry was my hero" She said that the environment at Twistars was very hard and that it let "a monster like Nassar thrive." After her treatment with Nassar, where he abused her, she hurried out and said that she told her friends about it. Bailey said that her friends told her that he did that to them too. Bailey said, "My back never felt any better, but I told you it did so I wouldn't have to be on your table." He eventually told her to quit gymnastics. This news made Bailey, sadly, very happy. She said quitting meant she wouldn't have to work with Geddert at Twistars any longer or be a victim on Nassar's table.
The second victim to speak on Wednesday was Annie Labrie. Annie has been anonymous in all previous hearings but wanted to speak out after hearing all of the other victims give statements. "I was afraid to open an old wound," she said. "Then I remembered there's power in numbers." Annie was abused by Nassar at Twistars, at MSU, and in his basement. She saw him for a spine injury which still hurts her to this day. She questioned the treatment but "every adult said he was the only option." She said that while training at Geddert's Twistars gym that she was taught to not question authority. She added that she, and the other gymnasts, were always judged, had their body image judged, even if a hair was out of place. Annie eventually trained in a different gym in Grand Rapids and learned that gymnastics could be fun again.
Judge Cunningham is overseeing the hearing of the victim statements in Eaton County. Nassar has agreed to a plea agreement, and part of that agreement is to hear the statements of his victims.
As of the start of court, 65 victims are scheduled to speak.
First to the microphone was Jessica Thomashow, a senior in high school and 17 y ears-old. She was assaulted at the ages of 9 and 12 by Larry Nassar. Jessica has been known as "victim A" until Wednesday when she wanted to go public. She began her statement by saying that no high school student should know the inside of a courtroom as well as she does. She said she's been in court 8 times already. She started to say that she was uncomfortable at her preliminary hearing when Nassar and his attorneys laughed at her during her testimony. The defense quickly objected and Judge Cunningham told her to keep it to the criminal conduct of Larry Nassar. Jessica said she wanted to a sports doctor like Larry, until he abused her. After that day, all of her dreams changed.
Judge Cunningham has set aside several days for the sentencing hearing as over 50 survivors have asked to speak. The hearing comes less than a week after Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison on sex assault charges in Ingham County. That time will be served after his 60-year sentence in federal prison on child porn charges.
News 10 will have live coverage of Larry Nassar's sentencing on wilx.com and you can read below, News 10's Clayton Cummins, live tweets from the courtroom.
Watch Live: Larry Nassar victims give impact statements ahead of sentencing on wilx.com.
Warning: some testimony and statements may be graphic in nature. After being sentenced for 40-175 years in prison for sexual abuse in Ingham County, MI, former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar now faces additional victims ahead of his sentencing for criminal sexual misconduct in Eaton County.