Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, accused of sexually abusing more than 100 girls and women, received a sentence of up to 175 years in prison Wednesday after days of hearing statement after statement from his accusers.
That’s thanks to Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who opened her courtroom to a parade of survivors, parents and coaches affected by Nassar’s abuse — letting each say their piece, while encouraging them and placing blame firmly on their abuser.
“The monster who took advantage of you is going to wither, much like the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the water gets poured on the witch and the witch withers away,” Aquilina, 59, told one victim last week, per CNN.
“That’s what’s going to happen to him, because as you get stronger, as you overcome —because you will — he gets weaker and he will wither away. Prison is no place for a human being to live.”
Here are incredible responses Aquilina has delivered during the hearing:
On Nassar’s ‘death warrant’
“Sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again. I just signed your death warrant.” — Aquilina, after Nassar’s sentencing to at least 40 years of prison on Wednesday.
On considering ‘cruel and unusual punishment’
“Our Constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment. If it did, I have to say, I might allow what he did to all of these beautiful souls, these young women in their childhood, I would allow some or many people to do to him what he did to others.” — Aquilina, near the end of the first day of Nassar’s sentencing hearing.
After Nassar objected to having to hear from his victims
“You may find it harsh that you are here listening but nothing is as harsh as what your victims endured for thousands of hours at your hands, collectively. You spent thousands of hours perpetrating criminal sexual conduct on minors. Spending four or five days listening to them is significantly minor considering the hours of pleasure you had their expense and ruining their lives. none of this should come as a surprise to you.” — Aquilina, responding to Nassar’s letter questioning if he could “mentally” handle multiple days of victim-impact statements.
Judge Aquilina shuts down Larry Nassar’s complaints of stress. pic.twitter.com/X5DaZ8Fmun
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To victims thinking about suicide
“With suicide, he wins.” — Aquilina to Annette Hill who said she became suicidal following Nassar’s abuse, per HuffPo’s Alanna Vagianos.
“Only the defendant would be better off if you were not here. Please stay with us. Stay with your family. Your children need you.” — Aquilina to Nicole Reeb, a dancer said she has had thoughts of suicide.
Saying sorry to Aly Raisman
“I’m an adult, and I’m listening, and I’m sorry it took this long. … You were never the problem, but you are so much the solution.” — Aquilina after the Olympic gold medalist’s statement on Friday, per ABC.
Encouraging victims to still chase their dreams
“Your dreams are still out there. His are squashed.” —Aquilina to Olivia Cowan, perthe Gymternet.
“It seems to me, after this, you can finish writing. You found your voice. It’s a strong, effective, brave voice, and you have a child coming. Maybe what you need to do is start and finish a lullaby.” — Aquilina to Amanda, Cormier, who said she lost her passion for songwriting after Nassar’s abuse, per CNN.
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