Today, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina served justice not to one man, but to over 150 victims of his perverse monstrosities. Larry Nassar, reputed child molester and former doctor for the USA Gymnastics teams, has undergone a weeks-long trial in which survivors and victim family members came forward with nearly two hundred testimonies regarding his extensive sexual abuse of young women. Under the pretense of medical examinations, Nassar sexually abused and assaulted nearly 160 reported women who were children as young as six years old at the time of the assault. Though it took many years to build the case, Nassar is finally under the court’s mercy for the physical, sexual, and psychological trauma he caused to countless children.
Kyle Stephens was one of the 156 young women who came forward to share her abuse. She had suffered abuse from Nassar between the ages of six and twelve while Nassar convinced her family members, like he convinced many families, that the accusations were lies.
In court, this is what Kyle Stephens said:
“Let me remind you of the interests of a six-year-old girl. My favorite TV show was Clifford the Big Red Dog. I could not do a multiplication problem, and I still had not lost all my baby teeth. I think we can all agree that someone of this maturity level should not be sexually active, but I was. I testified to let the world know that you are a repulsive liar.”
Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that destroy your world.
And destroy his world they did. Other victims including Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Gabby Douglas came forward about their assault, as well as the mother of abuse victim Chelsea Markham who took her life shortly after the abuse sent her into a downward spiral of depression and drug addiction. Nassar abused the trust people place in doctors to indulge in the most atrocious, vile acts of malice and perversion towards children. The USA Olympics Committee and numerous gymnastics board members stayed silent about his many accused actions for years, but not Judge Aquilina.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina carried no legal obligation to hear over a hundred victims speak, yet she did. She listened to every heart-wrenching tale of abuse, every tear shed, every glimpse of a child ruined and unprotected. During this she ensured that all the hearings were broadcasted on national television and that Larry Nassar saw the women he once exploited rise up against him. Aquilina has long been fighting against child sexual abuse, as she is both a judge and professor who teaches numerous classes on defending battered women and combating child abuse. She was also the first female JAG officer in the Michigan Army National Guard, where she served for twenty years. The woman is a hero, and she refuses to tolerate the inhumanity that hundreds of silent board members and official committees could.
During the trial, Larry Nassar once victimized himself by writing a letter to Judge Aquilina expressing his inability to hear the witness statements (strange, how he can hear little girls scream and cry but cannot hear the truth of his actions). In it, he stated “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned- the media is sensationalizing this” rather than owning up to his wrongdoings. Upon receiving the letter, Aquilina flung it to the ground and rebuked his mock apology. She discredited his claims of being unable to mentally bear hearing the witness testimonies, and she served her view to him fierce and directly.
“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.” -Judge Aquilina
After the many days of victims reliving and retelling their trauma, Nassar was brought his sentence hearing. He already faces sixty years in federal court for child pornography charges, but his trial could not end until he was tried for the evils he committed to more than 156 young girls. This morning Judge Rosemary Aquilina delivered her final verdict, loud and clear for all the survivors to hear:
“It is my privilege to sentence you to forty years… which is 480 months…to 175 years, which is 2100 months in prison. I have just signed your death warrant.”