OPINION: Larry Nassar deserves his sentence, #MeToo movement still making progress


Photo courtesy of Time

Charlie Needles

Dr. Larry Nassar was sentenced last week to up to 175 years in prison for multiple counts of sexual misconduct. The defamed sexual abuser, who was an athletic physician at Michigan State University and a team doctor for U.S. Olympic gymnasts, heard testimonies from many of his victims at his seven-day sentencing before Judge Rosemarie Aquilina satisfyingly stated that she was signing his death warrant.

But the story isn’t over for this case. Many of the victims spoke of their statements being mishandled and suppressed at Michigan State University, and now an independent investigation is underway. MSU has already surrendered email accounts and text messages from devices belonging to multiple associates of Nassar who worked alongside him at the university.

The time for reckoning is here; a revolution is underway. The entire USA Gymnastics’ Board of Directors has resigned. In the name of justice, the same must be done at MSU. Any motion to show that the university will not tolerate the mishandling of a sexually abused victim’s statement will be a rebuke of Nassar. So far, the president of the university has resigned, as have a few other former MSU associates of Nassar, but the weight of this case, the longevity of Nassar’s access to his victims and the alleged cover-ups that suppressed the victims’ stories call for more severe reactions from the university.

Nassar’s actions are disgusting and his apology at his sentencing was pathetic. The man is where he belongs. And while the public is nearly in consensus about the scandal, there are a few voices that have claimed that Judge Aquilina was too harsh with her tone when she sentenced Nassar. These sympathizers are few, but they are making waves, as with the “Not All Men” apologists who loiter in conversations of abuses against women. They add nothing and detract from the stories of the victims. It is absurd that these voices are being heard and acknowledged at all. It’s a sign that the #MeToo movement, which works to give a voice to victims coming forward about their abuse and abusers, still has a way to go.

There is a brighter future in store for Nassar’s victims, who now have their abuser behind bars and can begin a path to healing. There is a brighter future for all women who face abuses in the workplace or behind the scenes of their athletic career, no matter the field. As more women come forward about their stories, the more women are encouraged to do the same.

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