WEATHER AUTHORITY : Flash Flood Watch - Flood Advisory View Alerts

They helped serve justice to Larry Nassar

They took down Larry Nassar.One is a brave former gymnast who talked to a newspaper about abuse she endured fr...

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 11:58 AM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 11:58 AM

They took down Larry Nassar.

One is a brave former gymnast who talked to a newspaper about abuse she endured from the disgraced doctor. Reporters at The Indianapolis Star, who broke the story, brought more horror stories to light. With the help of a detective and prosecutor, survivors confronted their abuser in a Michigan courtroom.

On Wednesday, a judge wrote the final chapter. Nassar will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The former osteopathic sports physician with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University had pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County, Michigan, and has admitted to sexually assaulting and abusing young girls under the guise of providing medical treatment.

Here are the stories of those who served justice to Nassar.

Rachael Denhollander

Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander is credited with helping to shine the light on Nassar's abuse.

Denhollander told The Indianapolis Star of Nassar's abuse in a September 2016 story. She was the last of more than 150 women and girls to confront Nassar in court during his sentencing hearing.

"Larry is a hardened and determined sexual predator. I know this first-hand. At age 15, when I suffered from chronic back pain, Larry sexually assaulted me repeatedly under the guise of medical treatment for nearly a year," Denhollander said.

"He did this with my own mother in the room, carefully and perfectly obstructing her view so she would not know what he was doing," she said.

"Larry's the most dangerous type of abuser. One who is capable of manipulating his victims through coldly calculated grooming methodologies, presenting the most wholesome, caring external persona as a deliberate means to ensure a steady stream of children to assault," Denhollander said.

The other survivors

Survivors shared their stories in court, fighting back tears, recalling the horrors. Kyle Stephens. Emma Ann Miller. Olympian Aly Raisman. More than 150 others.

Raisman looked directly at Nassar in court as she lambasted him last week.

"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," she said.

The 15-year-old Miller, one of Nassar's youngest victims -- and possibly his most recent -- declared: "I'm possibly the last child he will ever assault."

"Long after the 'Olympic gymnasts' doctor' fades into a trivia fact known only by us or a Jeopardy contestant, the word 'Nassar' will permanently be associated with child sexual abuse," the teenager said.

Larry Nassar's abuse victims, in their own words

Stephens was the first survivor to step to the podium during the seven days of victim impact statements as part of Nassar's plea deal.

"You used my body for six years for your own sexual gratification. That is unforgivable. I've told counselors your name in hopes that they would report you. I have reported you to child protective services twice. I gave a testament to get your medical license revoked," Stephens said.

"Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don't stay little forever. They grow into strong women who return to destroy your world," Stephens said.

Nassar didn't look at her.

The Indianapolis Star investigation team

In March 2016, reporters Marisa Kwiatkowski, Mark Alesia and Tim Evans began investigating USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics. Their investigative series led to charges first being filed against Nassar in November 2016 and again in February 2017.

In court on Wednesday, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis said society needs more investigative journalists, and praised the newspaper's work

"Without that first Indianapolis Star story in August of 2016, without the story where Rachael came forward publicly shortly thereafter, he would still be practicing medicine, treating athletes and abusing kids. Let that sink in for a minute. Right now, he would be at his office ... not far from this courtroom and the Michigan State University campus abusing children, had it not been for the investigative reporters and Rachael who brought this case," Povilaitis said.

State Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis

Povilaitis, a longtime sex crimes prosecutor, was the lead prosecutor in the case.

Outside court, she hugged survivors, who thanked her for her persistence and told her they appreciated everything she did.

Povilaitis said the more than 150 survivors who shared their stories of abuse "kind of empower me, too, and keep me going forward."

"I've been a sex crimes prosecutor for almost 20 years ... and sometimes things don't work out as well as they do here. I've had many cases where you think you have a slam dunk and the jury finds otherwise or you have something else that happens," she told reporters Wednesday.

"I pray and hope that jurors are watching, police are watching, prosecutors are watching, the community is watching. And those predators are watching too and they know that we will come for them and we will support these women if they come forward," she said.

Michigan State University Detective Lt. Andrea Munford

Munford, the lead investigator in the case, is a member of the department's special victims unit.

"One of the most important things is meeting people where they are and working at their pace," said Munford, a Michigan State graduate and a 20-year veteran of the department, according to a university profile. "We want to give them back some of the control they may feel they lost after reporting."

"Our victims and the public are incredibly lucky to have their case investigated by arguably the best sex crimes detective in the country and her team," Povilaitis told the court. "Detective Lt. Andrea Munford is not only a smart, dedicated and hard-working investigator, but she is also empathetic and compassionate."

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon, who resigned late Wednesday, praised Munford in her resignation letter.

Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina

Aquilina showed compassion to the survivors, who shared their stories. The judge transformed the gut-wrenching hearing into a therapy session.

"It seems to me, after this, you can finish writing. You found your voice," Aquilina told one survivor who spoke of her love for music.

Before sentencing Nassar, Aquilina shared her personal story of coming to the United States as an immigrant.

"I came to this country stateless, unnaturalized. My father's Maltese, my mother's German. And I was raised on old country values," she told Nassar.

Her family always told her she lived in the greatest country -- and she believed them. That's why she enlisted in the military, she said.

"I don't have many friends because I speak out ... I speak out because I want change. Because I don't believe in hiding the truth," she said.

She scolded Nassar for a letter he had written to th e court defending himself.

"You have not yet owned what you did," she said.

Calling it a "privilege" to sentence him, Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years.

"I have just signed your death warrant," she said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
Lauderdale11418297
Lowndes10249175
Lamar10048128
Pearl River8737209
Lafayette8078136
Hancock7324111
Washington6837147
Oktibbeha6820118
Neshoba6404201
Monroe6372158
Warren6326161
Pontotoc610393
Panola6071124
Bolivar6016143
Marshall5972118
Union564086
Pike5491133
Lincoln5232130
Alcorn520888
George457868
Scott451993
Leflore4401140
Prentiss437276
Itawamba436198
Tippah436180
Simpson4268111
Copiah425586
Wayne424863
Tate4234100
Adams4219114
Yazoo415886
Sunflower4088104
Covington407391
Marion4032100
Leake393185
Coahoma388198
Newton364474
Grenada3517101
Stone345657
Tishomingo324888
Attala321185
Jasper310262
Winston300391
Clay288273
Chickasaw282164
Clarke277487
Calhoun259739
Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
Claiborne125634
Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768301

Reported Deaths: 13209
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1093481727
Mobile699891179
Madison48418589
Baldwin35707452
Shelby35193291
Tuscaloosa33029512
Montgomery32582664
Lee21908204
Calhoun20140377
Morgan19351318
Etowah18583433
Marshall17272259
Houston16139353
St. Clair14956276
Limestone14129180
Cullman14069235
Elmore14010245
Lauderdale13128272
Talladega12399215
DeKalb11890229
Walker10231312
Autauga9493127
Blount9418149
Jackson9115136
Coffee8646161
Colbert8324169
Dale8284159
Escambia6456106
Tallapoosa6394168
Covington6313157
Chilton6243133
Russell591654
Franklin563597
Chambers5240132
Marion4628115
Dallas4626178
Clarke451471
Pike450091
Geneva4252106
Winston407987
Lawrence4046102
Bibb396177
Barbour338968
Marengo320981
Monroe311547
Butler309783
Pickens298769
Randolph294055
Henry293856
Hale286081
Cherokee279850
Fayette272271
Washington243545
Crenshaw232265
Clay221561
Macon214454
Cleburne209748
Lamar187839
Conecuh177139
Lowndes169056
Coosa163631
Wilcox154335
Bullock147142
Perry134235
Sumter123335
Greene119241
Choctaw72325
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 78°
Columbus
Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 75°
Oxford
Mostly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 104°
Occasional areas of rain and some scattered thunderstorms will be in store for most of the weekend. However, good news by later sections of next week, as cooler and drier air will work its way into our weather forecast.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather