date of testimony: January 16th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
My name is Ashley Erickson. I am a former gymnast and competitive cheerleader. I was a patient of Doctor Nassar from 1999 through August of 2016.
Today I can say that I am finally ready to face you. Rather than someone that I used to trust, I am looking at a monster that took advantage of me.
I have a question for you. Why? Why did you feel that you could do this to us, and not only get away with it, but you also felt that you were allowed to? You were the adult. You were the doctor.
You were also someone that many people told me could fix my medical problems. Instead, you groomed us into believing that you cared about us, but really you were just fixing your sick thoughts and fantasies.
I remember even lying to you at times saying I wasn’t in too much pain just because I didn’t want you to do the procedure. I didn’t know why I was asking this or lying to you. I just knew something wasn’t right. You were truly sick.
I am coming forward so you can no longer hurt anyone else and take things away that you took away from me.
Ever since I realized what you were actually doing to me, it has been hell. I have put my family and friends through hell. I’ve also lost jobs because of how much you have affected me and put me through. I have to rethink everything. I have no trust left for anyone because you took that away.
How do I ever trust meeting new people after learning that someone I trusted for years has betrayed me and also took advantage of me? So why on earth would I ever trust anyone again?
I try every day to overcome this, but every day is still a struggle. More importantly, though, it’s what this has done to my family. We have to work on our relationships every day because now I tend to be so distant and push them away. I would have never done this before. But now I have, unfortunately, became really good at it because I still don’t want to face what you have done to me and how much it affects me daily, so therefore it’s just easier to be by myself.
I truly hope with all of us coming forward and finally saying what we need to say to you makes you realize what you have done. I hope you think about it every day just like I do. I want this all to go away. I want the nightmares of you coming into my room to go away. I want to be able to go out in public without seeing someone that looks like you and get so afraid that I have to suddenly leave. I want to rebuild relationships so I can finally trust someone again in my life. I want to be independent again, find a job, and not be afraid to go to that job by myself because of panic attacks. I want to be the same Ashley to my family that they once knew.
I want to be able to get help again for my medical issues without the fear of other doctors being just like you. I truly just want to live again without the fear of you in my life.
Finally, Larry, I will no longer let you define who I am or who I will be. I will be strong again. Thank you.
THE COURT: Thank you. Ma’am, I think every single victim here and in every similar case I have ever had has asked why. It’s really the unanswerable question. This defendant is ill. He’s never probably going to understand or acknowledge exactly what he did and the ramifications, the vastness of the destruction that he caused each of you. The only thing I can do is to do what you’ve all asked me to do and to sentence him accordingly, which I will do.
The monster who took advantage of you is going to wither much like the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the water gets poured on the witch and the witch withers away. That’s what’s going to happen to him, because as you get stronger, as you overcome, because you will, he gets weaker and he will wither away.
Prison is no place for a human being to live. Rehabilitation here is not in the cards.
Either is the answer you seek as to why. Don’t beat yourself up about why. Understand he’s very ill, and nothing is your fault. But what you can do is stand as you are in this court, tall, proud with your brothers, as a family and say, no more, on behalf of yourself, other victims, and I think you’ve done that today. You are the voice of past victims, today’s victims, and future victims, so thank you for being here.
MS. ERICKSON: Thank you.
THE COURT: And thank you for all the good you’ll do out in the world, because I know that’s where you’re headed.
MS. ERICKSON: Thank you. I appreciate it.