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Olympian Aly Raisman welcomes sentencing of team doctor Larry Nassar

In her statement the triathlete said: "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."

 

    Aly Raisman, the Olympic medal-winning gymnast who was abused by former United States team doctor Larry Nassar, has welcomed his 175-year jail sentence.

    The Jewish-American athlete tweeted on Wednesday night that the decision “was an important victory, but there is still work to be done”.

    Nasser had pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual assault. Over a 30-year period he had abused nearly 160 girls and young women, including members of the US Olympic squad.

    Passing sentence, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told him he would "be in darkness the rest of his life", adding: "I've just signed your death warrant".

    Nassar, 54, had already been sentenced to 60 years for possession of child pornography.

    In a statement, Ms Raisman thanked Judge Aquilina, the prosecutors and law enforcement officers who had worked on the case.

    She paid tribute to the courage of fellow “survivors” of Nassar’s abuse. Their testimony in court had, she said, “an overwhelming impact on me, and I am proud to stand with you all”.

    She repeated her call for an independent investigation into how the bodies responsible for running US gymnastics had allowed Nassar to get away with abuse for such a long period. 

    Ms Raisman was of 156 women who gave victim impact statements during the seven-day hearing in Lansing, Michigan.

    Directly confronting Nasser in court, the 23-year-old said: "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. The tables have turned, Larry. We are here. We have our voices, and we are not going anywhere.”

    She added: "I am here to face you, Larry, so you can see I’ve regained my strength, that I am no longer a victim, I am a survivor…

    “Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice. Well you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice and I am only beginning to just use them.

    “All these brave women have power and we will use our voices to make sure you get what you deserve — a life of suffering spent replaying the words delivered by this powerful army of survivors.

    “You already know you’re going away to a place where you won’t be able to hurt anybody ever again. But I am here to tell you that I will not rest until every last trace of your influence on this sport has been destroyed like the cancer it is.”

    Ms Raisman's 14-minute speech has been widely praised both for her bravery in speaking out against the man who abused her and as a call-to-action to fix the system that allowed Nassar's abuse to continue for so long.

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