Larry Nassar, admitting to addiction, sentenced to 60 years on child pornography charges

Dr. Larry Nassar listens during a preliminary hearing Friday, May 12, 2017, in Mason, Mich.. Nassar, a former Michigan State University doctor who also worked for USA Gymnastics, faces sexual assault charges charges. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP)

Saying Larry Nassar was a danger to children, a federal judge sentenced the former USA Gymnastics doctor to 60 years in prison.

The sentencing, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids, was on two counts of possession of child pornography, and one count of destroying evidence . FBI investigators said they found at least 37,000 images and videos of pornography on Nassar's computers. In court Thursday, the judge said those images had been collected for the past two decades.

Nassar, 54, had pleaded guilty to the child pornography charges in July. He has also pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan District Court in Ingham County, Mich.

Nearly 150 women, including three gold medal Olympians and former MSU gymnasts, said Nassar violated their bodies and trust, sexually abusing athletes under the guise of medical treatments. Dozens of Nassar's accusers appeared in court for the sentencing Thursday.

Neff denied the U.S. Attorney Office's request to allow six victims to speak at Nassar's sentencing. She said those victims and others will have the opportunity to speak on the other cases against Nassar, who has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual misconduct in two Michigan counties.

In federal court Thursday, Nassar said he'd been battling the disease of child pornography addiction for some time; and he compared his battle to alcoholism and drug addiction.

"I've lost everything because of this, it's horrific," Nassar told U.S. District Judge Janet Neff prior to the sentencing. He added that he hopes some good comes out of all of this and that the media attention will encourage parents to educate their children.

The U.S. attorney said Nassar's sexual interest in children manifested itself in two ways, in the 37,000 videos and pictures of children pornography and scores of sexual abuse victims.

"I became a real life child pornography subject, his play thing," wrote one victim in an impact statement read aloud in court Thursday. More than two dozen victim impact statements were submitted to the court.

Neff told the court Nassar was, is, and will continue to be a danger to children. Before reading the sentence, she said Nassar has demonstrated that he should never have access to children again. Neff also noted that Nassar created child pornography involving his own child.

More important than the punishment of the person, Neff said, is deterrence and protection for the public.

The U.S. Attorney asked that the sentence be enough to deter others in positions of power and protect potential victims.

The 60 years in federal prison is to be served consecutively to the sentences Nassar received in Michigan state court.

Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney is among those who filed a victim impact statement, writing that Nassar began to abuse her when she was 13. She said the abuse happened at high-profile competitions, like in London before the USA gymnastics team won the gold in 2012. Maroney detailed what she described as the “scariest night” of her life—she was 15 and headed to Toyoko. She said Nassar gave her a sleeping pill for the flight. "And the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a ‘treatment.’ I thought I was going to die that night," Maroney wrote.

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