Jan 24, 2018

The overwhelming case against Larry Nassar

Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images

Former gymnastics doctor for the U.S. Olympics and Michigan State University, Larry Nassar, was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison today, as a result of an overwhelming sexual assault case.

Why it matters: Nassar's case is one of the biggest to come out of the wave of sexual assault and harassment allegations that started last fall. It led to the resignation of three executive board members at USA Gymnastics, and the NCAA is opening an investigation into MSU, as 14 university representatives reportedly knew of reports against Nassar.

The timeline

According to the Indianapolis Star, which first investigated USA Gymnastics and Nassar:

  • August 2016: An investigation by the Indianapolis Star into USA Gymnastics is published.
  • August 2016: Nassar's first public accuser, Rachael Denhollander, comes forward. She told Nassar's judge in court on Wednseday: "The sentence today will send a message across the country, to every victim and every perpetrator."
  • November 2016: Nassar is charged for "three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13," per the Star. He pled not guilty and was released on $1 million bond.
  • December 2016: "Nassar is indicted on federal child pornography charges."
  • July 2017: Nassar pleads guilty to child pornography charges.
  • November 2017: Nassar pleads guilty to the molestation of seven girls, three of them under the age of 13 at the time.
  • January 2018: Sentencing begins, and Nassar's victims begin confronting him in court.
The accusations

More than 160 women have come forward against Nassar, detailing instances of sexual assault while being "treated" by Nassar, that lasted years.

  • The New York Times printed gold-medalist Aly Raisman's testimony in full, in which she said: "Larry, you do realize now that we, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long a 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."
  • The first woman to testify, Kyle Stephens, tells Nassar: “I have been coming for you for a long time."
  • Go deeper: Read more accusations here.
The judge

Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has been hailed as a champion of the women attacked by Nassar.

  • Gold-medalist Simone Biles tweeted on Wednesday: "YOU ARE MY HERO."
  • In court on Wednesday, Aquilina told him: "It is my privilege to sentence you to 40 years...The tail end — because I need to send a message to the parole board in the event somehow God is gracious and I know he is — and you survive the 60 years in federal court first and then you start on my 40 years...Sir, I'm giving you 175 years, which is 2,100 months. I've just signed your death warrant."
The consequences

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

George Floyd protests: Unrest continues for 6th night across U.S.

A protest near the White House on Sunday night. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Most external lights at the White House were turned off late Sunday as the D.C. National Guard was deployed and authorities fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters nearby, per the New York Times.

What's happening: It's one of several tense, late-night standoffs between law enforcement and demonstrators in the United States.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Journalists get caught in the crosshairs as protests unfold

A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag atop the CNN logo outside the CNN Center during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Atlanta, Georgia, May 29. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Dozens of journalists across the country tweeted videos Saturday night of themselves and their crews getting arrested, being shot at by police with rubber bullets, targeted with tear gas by authorities or assaulted by protesters.

Driving the news: The violence got so bad over the weekend that on Sunday the Cleveland police said the media was not allowed downtown unless "they are inside their place of business" — drawing ire from news outlets around the country, who argued that such access is a critical part of adequately covering protests.

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").