Olympic gold medalist and Needham-native Aly Raisman posted a statement Wednesday night following the sentencing of a disgraced former USA Olympic Gymnastics doctor who admitted to molesting gymnasts and young girls.
Raisman was among more than 150 victims of Larry Nassar to read victim statements in a Michigan courtroom at the conclusion of his trial. Nassar was sentenced Wednesday morning by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina to the maximum sentence of 40 to 175 years in prison.
"It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again. You have done nothing to control those urges and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said.
In her late-night statement, Raisman thanked her fellow survivors for their courage, strength and leadership; Judge Aquilina, for her leadership, professionalism and compassion; the Michigan prosecutors and law enforcement for bringing Nassar to accountability; members of the media for their coverage of the story; her family and friends and the gymnastics community.
"This story is not over," Raisman wrote, "this story is bigger than Larry Nassar." Raisman went on to call for an independent investigation into USA Women's Olympic Gymnastics to "figure out exactly how this disaster happened."
Nassar confessed in court to abuse spanning a dozen sports over 25 years.
Wednesday's sentencing marks the end of a case that followed years of allegations and investigations and which culminated in a seven-day hearing in which Judge Aquilina opened the floor to Larry Nassar's victims. When the hearing ended, the courtroom broke into applause as victims and prosecutors embraced.
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In her statement before the court on Friday, Jan. 19, Raisman addressed Nassar directly.
"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," she said with a cold glance toward the defendant.
Raisman spoke before the court for 15 minutes, accusing Nassar of abusing the trust that she and other athletes placed in him as their physician.
Nassar has previously been convicted for child pornography crimes and must serve a 60-year federal sentence on top of the lengthy ruling doled out to him by Judge Aquilina Wednesday.
Aquilina also called for a broader investigation into how the abuse was allowed to go on for so long. The CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee announced an independent inquiry later on Wednesday, saying a third-party investigation will be chartered to determine "who knew what and when" about Nassar.
In her statement, Raisman called Wednesday's ruling an "important victory," but said that there there "is still work to be done."