After Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing women and girls, Aly Raisman delivered a powerful statement late Wednesday night.
The Olympic gymnast, who was one of more than 150 women and girls to accuse Nassar of sexual assault, tweeted her thanks to her “fellow survivors” for their “courage, strength, and leadership.”
“As we all continue to process our pain and suffering, it is my hope that in some way, sharing out impact statements is part of our healing process,” Raisman wrote. “There are going to be good days and there are going to be tough days, but continue to take strength in the impact your courageous voice has had upon each of us, but also for the all the other girls, boys, women and men out there who remain the shadows but maybe now can see a pathway towards the light.”
Raisman, 23, also thanked Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who presided over Nassar’s case and allowed more than 100 of Nassar’s victims, including several prominent athletes, to address him in court.
Thank you. I appreciate you all so much. pic.twitter.com/kysEo68g5c
— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) January 25, 2018
“To Judge Aquilina, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your leadership, your professionalism, your compassion, and your commitment to allow each and EVERY ONE of us survivors the opportunity to share our impact statements in open court was extremely important and meaningful. As I shared in court, I wasn’t planning to speak, but thanks to the army of survivors and you, I am forever grateful that all of our voices are finally heard. Thank you for listening to us all.”
The six-time Olympic medalist addressed the gymnastics community and its fans as well, thanking them for their support during what she called an “excruciating ordeal.”
“Your tweets and messages have meant so much to me as they have been a source of inspiration,” she wrote. “I love our sport and remain committed to helping make a difference so that nobody has to experience what all of us survivors have been through.”
Raisman called Nassar’s case “the biggest case of sexual abuse in sports history” and added, “this story is not over, this story is bigger than Larry Nassar, or Steve Penny, or the three Board members who resigned earlier this week.”
She advocated for a separate, independent investigation “to figure out exactly how this disaster happened.”
“Thinking otherwise is dangerous to the future generation. Today was an important victory but there is still work to be done,” she concluded.
During the trial, Raisman addressed Nassar directly, saying: “You never healed me. You took advantage of our passions and our dreams. Imagine feeling like you have no power, and no voice. Well you know what Larry, I have my power and my voice, and I will use them.”
Following Nassar’s sentencing, Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon officially resigned from her position on Wednesday after facing backlash for what her critics considered a mishandling of the Nassar scandal.
Nassar was accused of abusing his position as a sports physician at the university from 1997 to 2016. Sexual misconduct allegations against Nassar allegedly reached at least 14 MSU representatives in the two decades before his arrest, according to the Detroit News.
“Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU. I have tried to make it not about me,” Simon wrote on MSU’s website. “I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement.”
“The last year and a half has been very difficult for the victims of Larry Nassar, for the university community, and for me personally,” she continued. “To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment.”
Just before being sentenced, Nassar addressed his victims, often turning to look at many of them in the room.
“There are no words to describe… how sorry I am for what has occurred,” he said. “I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
In the wake of the scandal, USA Gymnastics Board of Directors’ Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley all tendered their resignations, effective Sunday, according to Kerry Perry, the organization’s president and CEO. USA Gymnastics suspended former U.S. women’s national team coach John Geddert, the owner of the Twistars gymnastics club near Lansing, multiple outlets reported.
Nassar was fired by USA Gymnastics in 2015 after working with the organization since 1986 — he had been its national medical coordinator since 1996, the New York Times reported. He was fired from Michigan State in 2016.