Larry Nassar, the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, is back in court Friday for his third sentencing hearing in as many months on charges of criminal sexual misconduct.
At least 65 accusers are expected to testify against him over days of testimony, which began Wednesday in Michigan’s Eaton County Circuit Court. Accusers say his abuse spanned more than two decades.
Here’s how we got here and what’s coming next:
Nassar already faces hundreds of years in prison
- In January, Nassar was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison. Nassar had pleaded guilty in Ingham County, Michigan, to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct — three of which involved victims under age 13 — and admitted to using his stature as a medical professional to assault and molest girls under the guise of medical treatment.
- In December, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison. He had pleaded guilty in federal court to three charges of child pornography. As part of the plea deal, officials agreed they wouldn’t prosecute Nassar for sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of children.
His accusers refuse to be silenced
- More than 200 of Nassar’s victims will have addressed the courts.In addition to the 65 expected to testify in Eaton County, more than 156 women gave heartrending testimonies last month in Ingham County. His accusers included high-profile Olympians Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney.
- Olympian Simone Biles also said she was sexually abused by Nassar. Biles’ statement came on the eve of Nassar’s sentencing in Ingham County last month, though she didn’t testify. She told CNN on Wednesday she wasn’t emotionally ready to face her abuser and that she’s “trying to move forward.”
A victim and newspaper exposed his crimes
- The Indianapolis Star published an exposé bringing Nassar’s abuse to light. The September 2016 storyexposed Nassar’s misconduct and included an allegation that USA Gymnastics knew of his abuse and failed to notify Michigan State University or the gymnastics gym Twistars, where he worked.
- The Star had received a crucial tip from one of Nassar’s victims, Rachael Denhollander. Denhollander said she’d been waiting for an opportunity to be believed. The Star gave her that chance.
The fallout is just beginning
- USA Gymnastics’ board has stepped down. The last of the board members resigned on Wednesday, as the organization moves to implement sweeping institutional changes recommended by a federal prosecutor in late 2016.
- Two top officials at Michigan State University also called it quits.Last week, President Lou Anna Simon announced her resignation and Athletic Director Mark Hollis announced his retirement.
- The allegations of a cover-up, which Michigan State denies, has prompted comparisons to the scandal that unfolded at Penn State in 2011when Jerry Sandusky was arrested for sexually abusing young boys on campus and elsewhere.
- Attendees at an emotional town hall meetingon Michigan State’s campus Thursday night called for the university’s Board of Trustees to resign.
- The fallout could continue for years. Other individuals and organizations will continue to be scrutinized for their alleged part in the scandal.
Here’s what’s next
- A special prosecutor has been tasked with investigating “every corner” of Michigan State University. William Forsyth, a retired prosecutor in Kent County, Michigan, will investigate how Nassar was able to abuse patients for so long without being stopped, who was aware of allegations against him and what university officials did when they were notified of his actions.
- The NCAA has also opened an investigation into the university. Several victims, including Amanda Thomashow, say they told university officials about Nassar’s abuse, but were either silenced or no action was taken.
- More than 100 accusers are suing Michigan State and USA Gymnastics.The civil lawsuits accuse the university and sport’s governing body of negligent failure to warn or protect victims, intentional infliction of emotional distress and sex discrimination in education under Title IX.