"I just signed your death warrant." Those were the words of the judge who today sentenced ex-USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to 175 years in prison for his despicable acts of abuse against young gymnists who had been placed in his trust.
As I listened to the many victims as they spoke directly to Nassar over the past several days, it is impossible to describe the disgust that I felt against Nassar, who sat, shamed, in the courtroom of Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.
The scandal is far from over. The NCAA has formally opened an investigation into Michigan State University’s handling of the allegations against Nassar, the school’s disgraced former team doctor, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. "The NCAA has requested information from Michigan State about any potential rules violations,” Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, told the Times.
According to published reports, many of Nassar's victims say they told parents, coaches and trainers at Michigan State University about Nassar’s abuse, but that the allegations were overlooked or hidden.
They told parents and nothing was done? How is that possible?
Meanwhile, there must be many thousands of parents across the country with young kids in organized gymnastics and related programs, many with Olympic dreams, who must now wonder if their children should continue in the sport they love.
Could it happen here? That's the question many must be asking today. "Should we let our child continue to participate?," moms and dads must be asking themselves.
And what about the unfortunate impact that the Nassar case must inevitably have on the many dedicated coaches and trainers who work with these children across the country every day? How must they feel? How will Nassar's actions affect them?
I must confess, I know very little about gymnastics, except what I hear about my great niece who has excelled at the sport and what I see on TV when I watch the Olympics. About all I know is that points are lost if somebody falls off the balance beam or wobbles or falls on a landing.
But the thought of these young children being subjected to the abuse for which Nassar, 54, has now been sentenced to from 40 to 175 years in prison is gut wrenching. He already is serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for child pornography.
Prison is too good for this guy. Of course, there he may be on the receiving end of the same kind of treatment he accorded to his victims -- or worse.