date of testimony: January 19th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age of at first abuse: 12
When I was just two years old I witnessed a production of Alice in Wonderland. It was full of dazzling dance numbers which captured my tiny heart, and I knew right then and there I wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up, and so that’s what I did.
I spent my childhood practicing turns and pirouettes, my summers preparing for Japhet de ballet exams, and every moment in between dreaming up choreography for a performance of my own. Dance was my life’s passion, my greatest combatant, and yet my greatest joy. It was my art and it was my sport, but it is also the vehicle which drove my unassuming body into Larry Nassar’s office.
Larry, when I was just 12 years old, I went — I walked into your office at the Michigan State University Sports Medicine Clinic in tremendous pain and seeking help to return to the sport that I loved most. I was in the seventh grade. I stood at a towering four foot 10 and in you I saw not only the medical help I so desperately needed after tearing both of my hip flexors, I saw a physician that I aspired to be.
I was your little goof, and so I looked to you as a role model hoping to volunteer at MSU Sports Medicine alongside you some day.
Do you remember taking me out to lunch after I job shadowed you at the clinic? I still have our friendly Facebook messages. In my mind you were both my mentor and you were my friend. And it wasn’t until 2016 that I realized that you molested me.
Every shred of admiration I had for you is gone. Every excuse I told my 12 year old self when you were penetrating me is gone. The man I thought I knew did not exist, only a selfish predator whose atrocities know no bounds. You violated the very principle of your calling; do no harm.
This past year and a half has been, without a doubt, the most difficult and traumatic period of my life. Your betrayal has caused me countless sleepless nights. When I do find sleep, I’m plagued with nightmares, and when I wake up, I’m living one.
This has ruined my first year at the University of Michigan. It robbed me of the college experience that every young girl deserves.
Most tragic is that your crime has shaken my very image of myself. This sentiment has been echoed by hundreds of other women who shared their most painful memories in this courtroom. It is perhaps your most vile transgression. But alas, Larry, you are merely a symptom of a sickness which plagues the very core of Michigan State University, threatening every little girl who steps foot on that campus; a culture of sexual abuse and the perverse deliberate inaction to hold predators accountable.
In the aftermath of mass crimes calls have been renewed for MSU president Lou Anna Simon to resign. The fact that she has yet to do so is so insulting to the hundreds of survivors like me. It is, in fact, 42 months, countless slanderous public statements from Jason Cody, calls from numerous Congressmen and women, and $150,000 slap in the face of a raise too late.
Since reports of Larry Nassar’s misconduct to Michigan State faculty began in 1997, two years before I was even born, I can’t help but wonder, how many little girls could have been spared from this lifelong battle if someone at the university had just done the bear minimum and listened?
Judge Aquilina, I implore you to impose a sentence upon this man which sends a unmistakable message to those who perpetrate heinous crimes against young people, whether they molest and maim or look the other way to protect their green and white.
Thank you, Your Honor.
THE COURT: As with everyone’s statements, your statements will be considered at sentencing. I have heard you. You, your words, your presence, your sincerity rang louder than just this courtroom and louder than just Michigan State University and all those persons and places you’ve mentioned. Your voice rings through the world. It is very loud and strong, and what you’ve done is to help desist all of those perpetrators, and I hear that message and what you’re asking because I know you don’t want anybody else to go through —
MS. McCAUL: Never.
THE COURT: — this. Never, yes. And I want you to know your words have danced through this courtroom, so your words are dancing even if you are not. I heard you, and I have every shred of admiration for you and your sister survivors. Your words, the words of your sister survivors are performing miracles. They have a rippling effect that you — all of you have not even realized, but there will come a time, there will come a day when the world recognizes how important your voices, individually and collectively are, and those voices also will give defendant nightmares. Thank you so much for being here.