date of testimony: January 16th & 23rd January 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age of first abuse: 17
statement read by court official Ms Povilaitis
Thank you. Your Honor, I appreciate the opportunity to address the court in order to tell my story and the impact that the abuse I suffered by Mr. Nassar has had on me.
I was 17 when I went to see Mr. Nassar for help with my back pain. At the time my father was terminally ill with cancer so my parents were unable to attend this appointment. Mr. Nassar took advantage of my circumstances and of me.
I remember him telling me that he could give me a massage to help with my back pain. I cautiously undressed and laid down with a sheet over me as he instructed. He proceeded to penetrate me vaginally and massage my breasts. My body froze. I was screaming inside but lay there too scared and confused to do anything.
After he completed his, quote, treatment, he told me to get dressed while he sat there watching. He then scheduled weekly visits for me. In a daze I left the office only to be stopped by the receptionist to schedule my next appointment. I informed her he had already done so to which she looked confused and responded, quote, he doesn’t schedule his own appointments. After reviewing my chart she was hesitant but verified that he had scheduled these.
Looking back I realize that he had scheduled these to continue the abuse. He had found a young girl in a vulnerable situation and intended to take full advantage of that situation.
When I got home from school that day I told my mom what had happened. She took me to the police station where I filed a report and went to the hospital to get a sexual assault kit done. I was terrified of what this exam entailed. I sat in a cold hospital room, my body tensed when they took the samples. I remember fearing that no one would believe me. Unfortunately, this fear became a reality.
About a week later the police contacted my family and asked us to come in for a meeting with Mr. Nassar. I told my parents that I did not want to face him so they went without me. At this meeting Mr. Nassar informed my parents that this was simply a misunderstanding and that because I was not a gymnast, I was not as comfortable with my body. There was no investigation and I was left to feel like the whole situation was my fault.
I felt powerless and like there was no one I could trust. I struggled with these feelings as I watched my dad dying right in front of me. My anxiety was at an all time high. I suffered so severely that at times I was unable to leave my home. I began medication and therapy. To this day I still suffer from anxiety and continue with these treatments 13 years later.
I went on with my life and successfully pursued my career as a physician assistant. However, the memory of what happened never left me. For 13 years I wondered if I was the only one or if there were others he had done this to. I tried to convince myself that I was the only one and that I had scared him enough by filing a police report so that he would never do this again. Sadly, this was not the case.
I remember the day I found out about the other allegations. I broke down and a huge wave of guilt came over me. I felt like I should have done more to stand up for myself and to prevent the abuse of the other women. As the number of victims grew and the stories came out, I was horrified. Mr. Nassar took away the innocence of so many young women and girls. He blamed us for, quote, misunderstanding what had happened.
I will never forget what Mr. Nassar did to me but I do have a sense of relief knowing that no other young woman or child will be subjected to his abuse.
I recently gave birth to my first child and therefore was unable to travel to Michigan for sentencing. This is a joyous time in my life but the trauma from the past and the realization of the extent of his abuse has put a cloud over it. I will move on and continue to be a loving wife and mother. I will continue my work as a PA and provide compassionate care to other victims of sexual abuse.
I hope that some day he will realize the affects he has had on his victims and their families. I am hopeful that today will provide justice and assistance in the healing process for all of Mr. Nassar’s victims.
Sincerely, Brianne Randall.
THE COURT: Thank you for reading that. I don’t know if Brianne is listening or not but there will be a record, and what I want to say to her is that today with her words there is no misunderstanding of what happened. I am very clear that no victim has lied, that they were all assaulted, that the use of treatment was misused, mis-defined, and I suspect that there were appointments that were not needed, probably in violation of other statutes, insurance paid for this, so the crimes just get bigger and bigger, and I’m saddened that Meridian Township Police Department, who I know to be very efficient, very good, and we hear testimony all the time from them, I see the good work they do, I’m sorry they missed this one. But, again, defendant became a good liar, and what happened, what I’m gathering from all these victims, is that because Meridian Township, because universities, because parents, all unsuspecting, seemingly, defended him, he felt untouchable so he continued to touch children for his own pleasure.
I have heard what Ms. Randall has said and I applaud her words, and I can’t imagine not being believed while her father is dying, so she’s grieving the loss of her childhood and the loss of a parent. That is immeasurable pain, so I thank her for her words.
On the 23rd January Brianne Randall appeared in court to add the following to her statement.
Your Honor, thank you for the opportunity to speak here today and for your supportive words for all of the survivors. I will keep this brief as Angie [Povilaitis] previously read my statement.
Originally I was hesitant to come because I live in Seattle and did not want to leave my seven week old son. However, after hearing the words of my co-survivors, I knew I had to come support them.
May I now address the defendant?
Mr. Nassar, do I look familiar to you? Do you recognize my name? I was a 17 year old that reported your abuse to police in 2004. You used my vulnerability at the time to sexually abuse me. I reported you to police immediately and had a rape kit done. The police questioned you and you had the audacity to tell them I had misunderstood this treatment because I was not comfortable with my body. How dare you.
Sadly, they took your word instead of mine.
I am here today to tell you I wasn’t afraid of you then and I am sure as hell not afraid of you now. Your power has been taken from you by an army of strong women. I will leave this courtroom today, flying home to Seattle to my loving husband and son. You, on the other hand, will spend the rest of your life in prison thinking about the pain that you have inflicted on so many people.
I now work as a family practice physician assistant. I am shocked by how many of my patients have been victims of sexual abuse. Today I ask all parents, police, institutions, including MSU and USAG, and other authority figures to please listen to children when they report abuse and take action. Mr. Nassar’s abuse went on for too long because nobody was listening to us. The time is up for you, Mr. Nassar, and for all perpetrators. Thank you.
THE COURT: Ma’am, thank you. You are very strong. Congratulations on your family, your new baby.
MS. RANDALL: Thank you.
THE COURT: And I so appreciate that you took your time away from your child to be here and speak your own words. We’ve all heard you, and your message is one for change and for voices — people like you in the medical field should be the voice for those who can’t speak, and that’s such an important message. And you are a hero. You are a survivor, and you are part of this strong army that’s only getting stronger, and you coming here is so valuable for everyone, including your own healing, and I know you know that, but you have faced him head on directly, to the point, and I’m honored that you did it here in front of everyone, and that now you can let go of all of this and live your happy life with your beautiful family. Thank you.
MS. RANDALL: Thank you so much.