The ruling was made by a federal judge on Thursday, handing down the sentence to Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor in the US state of Michigan, who is accused of sexually assaulting gymnasts and possessing thousands of images and videos of child pornography depicting children as young as infants between 2003 and 2016.
US District Judge Janet Neff, referring to court documents, said there was a link between Nassar’s child pornography and his “prolific molestation of children,” adding that he "has demonstrated that he should never again have access to children.”
The 54-year-old sports physician, who worked at Michigan State University and at USA Gymnastics, pleaded guilty to having molested girls with his hands when they sought treatment for hip and back pain.
“Underneath this veneer lurked a predator,” assistant US attorney Sean Lewis said in a court filing.
Apart from the criminal cases, more than 100 women and girls have filed lawsuits against Nassar over the allegations of sexual assaults under the guise of medical treatment. The former sports doctor will be attending a hearing in the presence of all his victims and their parents in January next year to listen to their impact statements.
Nassar is a “monster,” one of the victims said in a letter to Neff. “He abused my trust, he abused my body and he left scars on my psyche that may never go away.”
Reports said Nassar’s attorneys had called on the federal court to show leniency as he was “devastated” and remorseful, arguing that the 54-year-old had helped fellow inmates and taken Bible classes since his arrest nearly a year ago.
At least seven women or girls said they had raised concerns between 1997 and 2015 about Nassar’s actions to coaches, trainers, police or the Michigan State University officials.