date of testimony: January 18th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
Mary Fisher Pollmer mother of Katherine/Katie Payne and Maureen Payne
Judge, the next speaker is going to be a mother, actually, Doctor Mary Fisher. She is here speaking on behalf of her two daughters, Katherine, who I know goes by Katie Payne, and Maureen Payne, who are out of state and unable to be here, but Doctor Fisher is going to speak on their half.
So I’m here today representing my two daughters. They both live out of state, as Angela said, and they can’t attend. And my daughters are Katherine, Payne and Maureen Payne.
So both of my daughters were metro Detroit gymnasts and we drove to see Doctor Larry Nassar at Michigan State University Sports Medicine Clinic from 1997 to 1999.
MS. POLLMER: This is Katie’s statement. My name is Katherine Payne.
My mother, Mary Fisher Pollmer who is reading this to you right now has three children, a son and two daughters. Those two daughters, my sister Maureen and I, were sexually molested and raped as children by the person who sits before us today.
To the brave women who were able to speak and to those who were not, know that you are not and will never be alone. There are more of us than we will ever know, and in the darkest of your days when the pain feels inescapable and you feel the loneliness and hopelessness that results from rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and abuse of any type, we are all here with you and for you.
To those of you who are no longer with us because your suffering was too great, we will forever be here for you as we know you are forever here for us. We are women and children. We are victims of pain and suffering from rape, sexual molestation, and sexual assault. But we are also survivors. Whether in person or in spirit, we are alive.
The following song by Nina Simone is for us. It is for everyone in this courtroom. This is for all victims of abuse, neglect, abandonment, and loss. This is for my mother who is reading this right now. This is for my father, my sister, my brother, my nieces and nephew. My family. I love you. Thank you for keeping me alive when my suffering was so great that I didn’t want to keep living.
This is also for the person who first taught me to speak out, speak up, and not be ashamed, Mark Payne. I miss you every day. We must forever fight tyranny and never give up. Thank you.
THE COURT: Thank you. Are you going to play that?
MS. LIDDELL: I’m going to.
THE COURT: Okay.
MS. POLLMER: She wants to share that with everyone.
THE COURT: All right. I’ll stay a few minutes after that before we go off the record. This song will not be part of the record. Ms. Hamlin couldn’t possibly take it down. She probably could but it’s a separate record.
You may proceed.
(DVD played at 4:22 p.m.)
THE COURT: Thank you. That was a lovely song, especially in this moment. Thank your daughters for me, Katie and Maureen.
And first as to Maureen, defendant will be less than a footnote but a big lesson we will all have learned about helping those who cry out and need help and need protection, and both your daughters are part of that, and this song that Katie has sent to us is really a message that he can’t take away anything. They’ve regained their life, their voice. They are strong in body, mind, and soul, and he is weak.
They’ve not lost anything. They’ve regained it by being here, by having you as a parent, by following through with their good, strong hearts.
I hear for sentencing what you and your daughters want. I listened to the voice of their mother —
MS. POLLMER: Thank you.
THE COURT: — as you read it and the passion, and so I know that your daughters have a strong mother and role model. They also have a voice in this court.
MS. POLLMER: Thank you, Your Honor.
THE COURT: And I really thank you for speaking out, speaking up, and your daughters’ strengths shows that there’s nothing to be ashamed about. It is defendant that should be ashamed, and like the song says, they have their mouth.
MS. POLLMER: That’s right.
THE COURT: They’re going to keep talking and making it a better world, and I honor them for that and all of the survivors. Thank you so much.
MS. POLLMER: Thank you, Your Honor.