UPDATE: Calls grow for Michigan State head to resign

By  | 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — 5 p.m.

Calls are growing for Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon to resign over allegations that the school mishandled complaints about a campus doctor who sexually assaulted young gymnasts.

Three legislative leaders called for Simon to resign or be fired Thursday, as victims continued speaking at Larry Nassar's sentencing in a courtroom blocks from the state Capitol. A fourth leader previously called for Simon's resignation.

House Democratic Leader Sam Singh is from East Lansing, where the school is based. He says a lack of leadership at Michigan State "allowed victims to suffer in silence for far too long."

The top two state Senate leaders say they have lost confidence in Simon.

A university spokesman says the board of trustees appreciates lawmakers' opinions but still supports Simon, who attended the sentencing Wednesday.

Nassar will not be sentenced until next week to accommodate the many victims who want to speak.

________

4:20 p.m.

U.S. Olympian McKayla Maroney said being sexually assaulted by a Michigan sports doctor who molested her and other gymnasts scarred her mind in ways that may never heal.

Dr. Larry Nassar won't be sentenced until next week to accommodate the many victims who want to speak. Since Tuesday, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has listened to more than 60 who were molested after seeking his help for injuries, including a statement from Maroney that was read by a prosecutor on Thursday.

"Dr. Nassar was not a doctor," said the 2012 Olympic gold and silver medalist. "He left scars on my psyche that may never go away."

USA Gymnastics in 2016 reached a financial settlement with Maroney that barred her from making disparaging remarks. But the organization this week said it would not seek any money for her "brave statements."

Aquilina started Thursday's proceedings by saying Nassar had written a letter fearing that his mental health wasn't strong enough to sit and listen to a parade of victims. The judge dismissed it as "mumbo jumbo."

"Spending four or five days listening to them is minor, considering the hours of pleasure you've had at their expense, ruining their lives," Aquilina said.

Nassar, 54, faces a minimum sentence of 25 to 40 years in prison for molesting girls at Michigan State University and his home. He also was a team doctor at Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. He's already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.

A 2000 Olympian, Jamie Dantzscher, looked at Nassar and said, "How dare you ask any of us for forgiveness?"

"Your days of manipulation are over," she said. "We have a voice. We have the power now."

Nassar wasn't the only target. Victims also criticized Michigan State and USA Gymnastics. Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon attended part of the session Wednesday. The school is being sued by dozens of women, who say campus officials wrote off complaints about the popular doctor.

"Guess what? You're a coward, too," current student and former gymnast Lindsey Lemke said Thursday, referring to Simon.

The judge has been praising each speaker and criticizing Nassar, whom she described as a "monster" who is "going to wither" like the wicked witch in "The Wizard of Oz." At another point, Aquilina said she would allow someone "to do to him what he did to others" if the U.S. Constitution allowed cruel punishment.

Some experts believe the judge's comments could create an issue for appeal after Nassar is sentenced.

"Judges are human beings, too," said Victoria Vuletich, who teaches ethics at WMU-Cooley Law School. "And too often judges fall prey to the allure of the cameras and media attention and forget their roles."

On Jan. 31, Nassar will get another sentence for sexual assaults at a Lansing-area gymnastics club in a different county.

---------------

A Michigan judge has heard from two Olympic gymnasts during a third day of gripping statements from young women who were sexually abused by a sports doctor.

A prosecutor read a statement from McKayla Maroney, who won gold and silver medals at the 2012 Olympics. She says Larry Nassar "left scars on (her) psyche that may never go away."

Nassar could be sentenced Friday. He admits molesting gymnasts with his hands while working at Michigan State University and at a Lansing-area club. He also was team doctor at USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has been hearing from victims since Tuesday. Jamie Dantzscher, a 2000 Olympian, spoke Thursday.

The judge said Nassar wrote a letter complaining about the hearing. She dismissed it as "mumbo jumbo."



 
Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus