Court wrapped up just before 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Fifty victim impact statements had be read over the last two days. A total of 101 statements are scheduled to be read during the hearing. News 10's coverage will continue Thursday morning at 9 a.m. on wilx.com.
The Attorney General's office read a statement from Dr. Steven J. Karageanes, a former colleague of Dr. Nassar. The defense did not want the statement read but the judge overruled them and allowed it be read, saying that the medical community having a voice is important. Dr. Karageanes said he never worked side by side with Larry Nassar but was "groomed" by him for 28 years. Dr. Karageanes said in his statement, "he groomed me to help him commit sexual assault."
The doctors had worked together at conferences, on videos, even writing a text book on proper technique - which Dr. Karageanes said Nassar always shared with other doctors. "It gave him cover if he was questioned," said Karageanes in his statement. And when allegations began to build against Nassar, Nassar called on the doctor to support him in this case.
18-year-old Helena Weick decided not to be anonymous as she read her victim impact statement with her mother, Leigh, at her side. Helena had seen Nassar when she was 12 for back pain. She said during the treatment that the doctor joked around with her and then would comment on her body. She knew it wasn't right and after the appointment quit gymnastics. The worst part she said, was that Larry Nassar damaged her "most important relationship in my life" with her mother. She said he used the natural trust a child has with their mother to manipulate her. She looked directly at Nassar and said, "how dare you?" Helena mentioned God and said that every time Nassar abused a child that he (God) wept, and she added, "he wept for you." She ended her statement by saying, "this is not my shame anymore, it's yours."
Another anonymous victim has spoken out in court, putting her name to her story. Carrie Hogan played softball at MSU when she saw Larry Nassar for treatment. She said, "How dare I be so clueless to believe this was a real procedure?" Carrie was emotional and shaking as she spoke. She said that some girls caught on to "this disgusting game" and that nobody did anything. She said that her love for Michigan State is tainted. "I am broken," she screamed in the courtroom. "I feel life has been sucked out of me." She ended her statement with "many more people need to be held accountable for their actions or lack there of."
Victim statements have continued with another victim that wanted to go on the record with her name, face and voice. 17-year-old Stephanie Robinson spoke out in court with her dad at her side. She was assaulted when she was 14 by Larry Nassar. She saw him for three years, over a dozen times for hip pain. She said, "society teaches us we are to trust doctors and I trusted you."
Another victim that was inspired by Tuesday's statements came forward and publicly read her statement on Wednesday. Chelsea Williams was always known as victim 118, but not that day. She told the court about the basics of gymnastics, the strict discipline of the sport and how the coaches are trusted and obeyed. She began in gymnastics at just five years old and had lived a lifetime at that regime. She says she was conditioned to bear "unimaginable pain, taught to soldier on, in silent suffering." Chelsea said that Nassar used his intelligence to manipulate little girls and women alike. "Obedience, pain and silence was masterly manipulated by Nassar." She was first assaulted at USA Gymnastics when she was 16. He told her the treatment was "unconventional." She trusted him and obeyed him, telling herself, "It's Larry, he would never hurt me." Later in her life she saw him again at MSU for a calf injury and was given the "same treatment" which she said she thought was "weird." She even talked about one consultation that she had in a supply room in his clinic at Michigan State.
Nicole Walker gave an emotional statement with her boyfriend at her side. She cried hard as she recalled to the court what had happened to her when she saw Larry Nassar after an auto injury while she was doing gymnastics. She said that she was "young and assumed there was no way a doctor would hurt me, but you did." She quit sports altogether after that and only sees female doctors. She has a son that she is protective of and worries about him being hurt. She told Nassar, "I can not forgive you."
Victim 148 addressed the court first after the lunch break. She was always a number until today. Kayla Spicher wanted to put herself on the record as a person. She said when she first heard about these actions she couldn't believe it, "I didn't want to believe it." She said she felt shamed and was assaulted for more years than she was alive. Kayla said "you have caused more pain than I ever endured." Kayla talked directly to Nassar and said, "it ends today. We are not victims, we are survivors."
As court resumed at 1 p.m. there was a new face in the courtroom; MSU President Lou Anna Simon has chosen to attend.
Michigan State University put out a statement during the Victim Impact Hearings. Here is that statement:
Many at MSU, including President Simon and Board of Trustee Chairperson Brian Breslin, have been viewing the brave women who have come forward to tell their stories at Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing. Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for Nassar's victims; the thoughts and prayers of the entire MSU community are with these women as we listen to their heartbreaking testimony. We are committed to supporting those in our community affected by these terrible crimes and have created the Healing Assistance Fund to help survivors access any counseling and mental health services they may need. We want to say again that we are truly sorry for the abuse Nassar's victims suffered, the pain it caused and the pain it continues to cause. But as we have said previously, any suggestion that the university covered up Nassar's horrific conduct is simply false. Nassar preyed on his victims, changing their lives in terrible ways.
The Nassar victims' attorney, John Manly, issued a statement Wednesday in response to a USA Gymnastics statement. This is what he said:
“USA Gymnastics finally acknowledges that the gag order they forced on Ms. Maroney and her attorney was unenforceable. Sadly, USA Gymnastics continues to make misrepresentations about Ms. Maroney. They say McKayla has “always had the right to speak.” Not true. Under the agreements terms she could not speak in court unless subpoenaed. She could not even have her statement read without fear of a lawsuit against her by USAG. A victim impact statement is a voluntary act. It’s not a subpoena. Let’s be clear. The only reason this statement was issued is because people were outraged at USAG’s behavior toward Ms. Maroney and her family. So outraged that people were kindly offering to pay the six figure USAG penalty so McKayla could speak. Everyday Americans get that no one should be silenced about child molestation. This is especially true when the abused is a young athlete who competed in the Olympic Games for our Country and brought honor and dignity to our nation. It is truly sad that USA Gymnastics and the USOC didn’t and don’t get it. They have no choice to relent because the cleansing sunlight of truth is shining upon them and they can no longer hide their misdeeds.”
USA Gymnastics had released a statement on January 16 regarding Maroney and the non-disclosure agreement. Here is that statement:
USA Gymnastics has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar, nor for any victim impact statements she wants to make to Larry Nassar at this hearing or at any subsequent hearings related to his sentencing. This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority – the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them.
On Tuesday night McKayla Maroney issued a statement in response to a Twitter post from Christine Teigen.
This is what she wrote: “I’m not on social media right now, but I wish I was for this! I’m shocked by your generosity, and I just want you to know how much hope your words bring to all of us! I just can’t get over the fact that someone I don’t personally know is sticking up for me, let alone a strong women that I’ve looked up to for years! Thank you Chrissy, you’re so inspiring, and things are starting to change because of people like you! Just saying that was worth the decision to speak up regardless of a fine. You’re heart pure gold. God bless. All my love, McKayla “
McKayla was responding to a tweet from Christie Teigen where she said she would pay a fine of $100K if McKayla spoke at the Nassar sentencing after USA Gymnastics made her sign a non-disclosure agreement. (see Tweet here)
Victim 39 spoke to the courtroom via satellite from where she attends school at Boston College. Madeleine Jones is 18 years old and saw Nassar in 2011 for back pain. She was only 11 years old. Her mother's statement said that her happy little girl became distressed and uninterested. And at 12 years old she had her first suicidal thoughts. Madeleine told the court that "before every appointment I cried in the bathroom," and that no amount of showers could make her feel clean again after the treatments. She spoke directly, looking at Nassar in the courtroom and said, "because of you I've tried to commit suicide. I wanted my outside to look just as ugly as you've made my inside feel." She said she would pray to God to put her out of her misery. She ended her statement by saying, "You chose to do this, you chose your actions and you chose to sexually assault little girls."
Victim 37 overall was Jaime Doski, she delivered her statement with her husband at her side. She first saw Nassar at 12 years old for back pain, she was a gymnast. She first heard about the abuse from a news story and thought it couldn't be true. She then realized she was sexually abused and was sick to her stomach. She saw Nassar for 13 years. She said she trusted him even though she was uncomfortable at each appointment.
Gwen Anderson was the fifth victim to speak today. She was very emotional, sobbing through her statement. She had her coach, Tom Brennan, with her as support. At one point he looked sternly at Nassar and said, "look at her." Anderson is a middle school teacher who looks back on her assault and remembers thinking "he couldn't be molesting us." Being a teacher and mother she says she is "faced with the reality of how young and defenseless we were when Larry molested us." She believed it was a safe place when she went to see Larry Nassar. He told her when she was on his table, "it's okay, I know you're not used to being touched there, but it will feel better."
Her coach was given an opportunity to speak and he told the court that Nassar was his mentor and he feels such guilt because he sent girls to go see him. He told Nassar to, "go to hell."
The fourth victim chose to be anonymous - cameras were off or focused on Nassar and the sound was turned off. News 10 could see Larry Nassar was visibly upset with whatever was being said in the courtroom, crying and rubbing his eyes.
The third victim on Wednesday, number 33 so far, was Amanda Thomashow. Amanda saw Nassar for back and hip pain in 2014. She heard great things about the doctor and was hopeful for the treatment. However, she said, "he had us all fooled." She said his quirky behavior should have raised a red flag. She told authorities at MSU but her voice went unanswered. She was in her mid-20's and in medical school and was told that she didn't understand the difference between sexual assault and treatment. She says that she still has nightmares about the day she was assaulted and can't sleep. She is afraid "of people all the time."
The first victim was known as "athlete A." Her mother read her statement. Athlete A is Maggie Nichols. Nichols is a former USA Gymnastics team member. She was assaulted by Nassar at age 15. She also received Facebook messages from Nassar about how pretty she was, her mother read. Nichols just came out publicly about her assault saying that, "he did not do this to Athlete A, but to Maggie Nichols." Gina Nichols, the mother of Maggie, spoke candidly to Nassar after reading her daughter's statement. She spoke from the heart, as a parent and the wife of a medical doctor. Her disdain and anger was evident. She told Nassar he was not a "real doctor but a pedophile."
Gina Nichols also turned to a representative from USA Gymnastics and said right to that person, "they are accountable."