Nassar to spend 60 years behind bars in federal child porn case

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (WLNS) – Larry Nassar will spend 60 years in prison for child pornography and obstruction of justice, the first of three sentences he’ll face after pleading guilty to a number of crimes.

During Nassar’s sentencing on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Janet Neff said he’ll serve 20 years on each of the three counts. He will serve them consecutively.

In addition, Nassar has to register as a sex offender.

Judge Neff also said Nassar’s time spent in federal prison would also be served consecutively to his state sentences, where he’s pleaded guilty to 10 first degree sexual assault charges between Ingham and Eaton counties.

But before the judge handed down his sentence, the former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor got the chance to speak, he told the court that this has been difficult for him, that he’s lost everything and he’s unsure how he got down this path.

Nassar went on to say that he long battled an addiction that he compared to a drug addiction or alcoholism.

He added that he tried to be a good person and tried to help people. Not only did he ask for forgiveness, but he said there needs to be more education to prevent other people like him from falling into the same “trap.”

The courtroom was packed, several of Nassar’s victims in attendance. Many of them submitted victim-impact statements to the court ahead of Wednesday.

A federal prosecutor spoke next, calling Nassars collection of child pornography “shockingly large,” adding that it portrayed images of children as young as six years old.

The prosecutor said Nassar abused his position of trust and authority, saying he “took advantage of a culture.”

He added that Nassar’s “danger to the community is real,” saying he will offend again.

In closing, the prosecutor asked the judge to consider the maximum sentence and that’s exactly what she did.

Judge Neff said that during her time as a judge, Nassar’s case is like nothing she’s seen before.

Adding that she’s a mother of two girls, she said Nassar has demonstrated that he should “never again have access to children.”

She went beyond the sentencing guidelines, which called for 22 to 27 years in prison.

Nassars attorneys Matthew Newburg and Shannon Smith said the former MSU doctor plans to appeal the judges sentencing, he has 14 days to do it.

“He’s devastated,” Matt Newburg said.

“I definitely believe he’s remorseful, Shannon Smith added.

In July, Nassar pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography, possessing child pornography and destroying and concealing of evidence.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Andrew Birge, acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan said Wednesday was a reckoning for Nassar.

“He more than deserves the punishment for what he did,” he said. “He consumed child pornography on a massive scale.”

Birge also said Nassar was a danger to the community.

“Nassar was an insidious hands-on child predator in his own right,” he said. “He took advantage of family friendships and he treated his license to practice medicine as a license to sexually molest children.”

MSU spokesman Jason Cody released a statement following the sentencing saying:

“Larry Nassar’s sentencing today on federal child pornography charges represents another important step toward justice for the victims,” he said. “As our president has said, we recognize the pain sexual violence causes and deeply regret any time someone in our community experiences it.”

Cody went on to say that MSU acknowledges the “real courage” it takes for all victims of sexual violence who come forward and share their story.

“Nassar’s behavior was deeply disturbing and repugnant, as the state and federal criminal charges that he has been convicted of show,” Cody said. “As for the civil litigation, it is not appropriate for MSU to comment out of respect for the process and everyone involved.”

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