date of testimony: January 16th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
Your Honor, today I stand before you simply as Victim D in the Ingham County case. I am a minor and presently have not come forward with my identity. I am a sheltered Christian, home-schooled girl who is still in competitive gymnastics.
From a young age I was raised to respect those in authority. I was also taught that there are certain people who are there to help you; doctors, teachers, pastors, police officers, so going to see Nassar at the age of 13 it was — that was my belief system, that he was there to help me.
I can remember the first time he assaulted me like it was yesterday. I cried all the way home because of what he did to me. He made me feel so yucky that I could not imagine this is what I had to endure to get better. But I was 13. I had never heard of a doctor purposely hurting someone. 13 when this began happening and 15 when I realized what happened; 15, a sophomore, and now a junior in high school.
What many people referred to as the best years of their life might have been the worst years of my life. I can hardly explain what this past year and a half was like. It was meetings and court appearances with attorneys, prosecutors, investigators, counselors. It felt like endless meetings going back over a story that was so personal to talk about. What 15 year old girl wants to discuss their private parts with grown men, or anyone for that matter? It was embarrassing. It was emotional, and I dreaded every meeting and court appearance I ever had to endure because it meant I was going to speak the assault out loud for everyone in the room. Every time it forced me to relive the horrible experience again. That was overwhelming.
It caused sleepless nights, lots of stress because I was trying to balance school, competitive gymnastics, which is a lot of time and travel, and then this awful situation, all while trying to have somewhat of a normal teenage life.
I did not want anyone to know. I did not come out to my teammates and friends until right before I had to go to court in May. Even right now I wrestled with lying to reveal my identity so that I no longer feel like I am hiding. Plus, it would be nice to be able to say I’m a survivor. But at the
same time I am unsure. I do not want anyone to look at my differently, especially when I walk out on the gymnastics floor. I want to be known for who I am and my gymnastics, not for being a victim of Larry Nassar.
This situation has also affected my family.
Being only 15 when I realized I was sexually assaulted my parents have been heavily involved. This has been extremely hard on my mom with lots of feeling of guilt for being in the room, for trusting, and for not asking enough questions. She cries a lot, but she was determined to fight for justice for me and all the victims.
My dad, it’s just hard hearing the story over and over again. Knowing what this monster did to his little girl makes him sick. In front of me he tries to remain strong.
My siblings have paid a price because it has often consumed our time and our days. Part of our devastation is just knowing the time frame in which I was assaulted, starting in July 2014, knowing it could have been easily avoided. If anyone — if one or any of the stipulations had been enforced by anyone overseeing Nassar, this would have never happened. To my knowledge, I am the first known victim after he was allowed to go back to work in July 2014. That fact is almost inconceivable to us, that he was so brazen to do the sexual assault in front of my mom, but also knowing he was still under investigation. It actually speaks volumes to what he knew he could get away with because no one was truly watching. He had mastered his performance, his act, his actions, his every move.
To Larry Nassar, here are some of my thoughts. You had it all, prestigious doctor, family, career, loved, worshipped by the gymnastics community, smart, honors, the list could go on and on, and you allowed evil to take over every part of you and committed some of the worst acts imaginable, on children. The innocent, the trusting.
I cannot even comprehend this at 16 years old. I may not ever be able to comprehend what you did and what you threw away, all for your evil desires.
Your apology/words at the hearing in November was not an apology. If the judge gives you an opportunity to speak again before sentencing, you need to try again. You need to sincerely apologize, not for the crazy words you spoke before about why you took the guilty plea, for the community to heal, that you never intended for this forest fire to get out of control. Even at 16 years old I know those are silly statements. It was not an apology to any victim or their family, but the victims need to hear you say I am sorry, please forgive me. I made terrible decisions that were based on my own desires with no regards of how I was hurting you that day and forever. I manipulated so many people, all part of my scheme to be able to do what I ultimately wanted to do, and now I am begging, if you ever can, to forgive me for my disgusting actions. Those are the types of sentences you need to say.
Now I want you to know I stand today not as your judge, eventually that is God’s job. I stand today knowing that God’s forgiveness extends to the worst offenses. I stand today praying that God extends the same grace to you and that you reach out and take it, but you do need to ask him for it.
I also stand today extending my forgiveness to you, not because you deserve it, but because our family will allow this tragic event to frame — will not allow this tragic event to frame our lives, so we release this poison by extending forgiveness.
Your Honor, what I want you to know — what I want you to know most is I am only 16. My whole life is ahead of me. Most people as they grow up get to write their own story. They make choices that affect the next days of their lives. They make good choices and bad choices, but with each decision they are paving the way for their own stories. They write it, their story. However, I did not get to write my own story. Someone wrote on my story. Larry Nassar wrote on my story. Without consent, without gloves, without prior explanation he wrote on my story, and it will always be a part of me.
What my future holds is unknown. How it will affect my relationships, schooling, decisions, trusts of others, especially doctors and men all is unknown. I do not want this to defeat me, define me, outshine me, or confine me. But it will always be a part of my story. I still have a lot ahead. What 16 year old or anyone has to or wants to go through all of this?
Just writing this statement has been stressful and emotional. There are not enough words to convey my actual feelings. Plus there seems to be endless things I could or want — plus there seems to be endless things I could or want to say. The list could go on forever.
Even as I work on my statement with my mom, we cry. As this settles I will turn the page and begin a new chapter, one that I will write myself. I pray and trust the Lord will be all I need to sustain me from this affecting my story.
Larry Nassar wrote his own story. He made decisions, awful disgusting decisions, and those decisions should affect the rest of his life. We do not want him to ever have a chance to write on anyone’s story.
You now have the unique opportunity, one that you have earned, to be able to write on his story. My family and I have prayed for you. We have prayed that your sentence is the maximum number of years but within the parameters of what the Attorney General and prosecutor have established. As you write on his story, please remember that you are writing on behalf of all the victims whose stories
Larry Nassar wrote on. May your decision be a reflection of that number and the disgusting crimes he committed. Thank you. Victim D.
THE COURT: Thank you so much for being so brave at 16 to read all of that. His story ends in prison. Yours is unwritten. You have the power and you’ve just taken the power to rewrite this headline.
You are strong. You have insight. And you are in control. So as you said in your statement and as I always say to victims, this should not define you, and I think already you’ve broken out of that mold, and I’m really proud of you, having you stand here.