I'm here for Stephanie. I cannot believe what you have done to her. I cannot believe what you have done to your family, our family. My heart hurts for her and the kids every single day. How could you do this to them, to us, and why? Why lose everything — everything that was good — lose everything that was good? For what?
date of testimony: January 19th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
I appreciate more than you will ever know the chance of being able to speak to Larry. If you will allow it, I would like to address him directly.
What have you done? My words are to you, Larry. We both know I have known you basically all of my life. In fact, I’ve known you 31 of 37 years, and this last year has traumatized me in ways you cannot even begin to imagine as I have had to realize I was abused for many years of my life.
And this, my old friend, is because of you.
Initially and only until recently I have defended you. I have fought for you. I have believed you. I have had many sleepless, crying, heartbroken nights when this originally broke. I thought they must have misunderstood you. I was standing by you. I shouldn’t have, but I did.
This isn’t something I’m proud of, but as more and more is coming out —
I did. I did. I defended you with my whole heart. I have seen photos of you and felt my heart break to see you this way, but, Larry, you did this to yourself, and you did this to us.
I am one of the originals or from the old crew, one of the Great Lakes and Twistars gymnasts where you were Larry before Stephanie, before you were a doctor. When you were a student in training under Doctor Hough. When you were not even in your 30s. When you would create healthy eating guidelines and muscle circuits for us to make sure we stayed uninjured. I thought you were always looking out for us.
I remember your wedding. I remember the laughs we would have in the back room at Great Lakes. I remember you taping my shins and my heels with such care and perfection you had to teach my mom how to do it as competitions took me out of state and aside from all of the other times you were not able to tape me.
I remember feeling so lucky to have you in my life. I remember you being such a big part of my life in my gymnastic days and after. I remember you fixing my hurt ankles, my wrists, and shin splints.
I remember feeling that if no one could fix me, you could. But I also remember you fixing my back and my hip.
I remember the bathtub at your apartment in the beginning. I remember the egg timer on the toilet of the time I was to sit in the warm water so my body would be warm and you could stretch me. I remember the table in the living room. I remember the light in your kitchen. I remember the magazines you gave me to read of all of the amazing gymnasts in our country.
But I also remember the vaginal manipulations. I remember them always being part of my treatments. Whether I was there for my heels or my wrists, I was also always there for my back and my hips. I don’t think I ever had a time I didn’t get this treatment. I remember never thinking anything but whatever you did would make me better.
I remember MSU Sports Medicine. I remember bringing my own shorts as the one they provided weren’t very comfortable. I remember watching the newest Olympic gymnasts go up on the wall one by one as you grew more and more famous. I remember being scared you would leave us to become this super new doctor and we would have to find someone new to put us back together.
I remember the times at MSU Sports Medicine when my mom was there or my dad or many other times when I was alone. I remember my hip flexors hurting so badly that you would check my leg lengths to see if one of my hips were stuck. One usually was. And, again, I always had treatment.
I remember having a cyst on my ovary rupturing and you and Stephanie being there when I woke from surgery. I remember thinking Stephanie was the luckiest woman in the world, and I prayed I would find someone like you for myself.
I never doubted you. I never felt scared of you. We loved you like family. We believed you looked out for us and protected us from harm. We literally loved you like family, because we thought you loved us back. I truly never felt one time bad about what you did to me, ever.
I trusted you with my body and my life. I trusted you as my doctor, and I trusted you as my friend.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that things started to really haunt me, and it came out of no where. It came time for my OB/GYN to suggest me to see another office where I live. They had 18 doctors but they wanted me to start at the practice with a man. Initially I didn’t think twice about this as this has never been an issue before for me. But as the appointment approached I started having full-blown panic attacks. This man was not going to be my doctor. Not for any reason. He was not going anywhere near me, in fact, and I’ve never met him. He wouldn’t know why I was scared of him. I felt bad for this. I would, from this, cause him some kind of harm as a result of what happened to me years ago. What was happening to me, I wondered, and why was this happening now?
Larry, I think you will be happy to know that I am 12 and a half weeks pregnant today. It’s a little boy. My family is doing well and I have actually messaged Stephanie many times throughout this last year to let her know that you are all in my prayers. But today I am here for the little girls that have had to fight for themselves, for the ones that need to know they have me to turn to simply because I’ve lived this life for you — with you as long as I can remember, and, in fact, I’m going to be okay.
I’m here for Stephanie. I cannot believe what you have done to her. I cannot believe what you have done to your family, our family. My heart hurts for her and the kids every single day. How could you do this to them, to us, and why? Why lose everything — everything that was good — lose everything that was good? For what?
I recently went to see a counselor because my guilt had become extremely heavy. I started remembering back to a very close person that came to me in 1997 and said, I think Larry did something bad to me. I asked her what he had done. She explained he vaginally manipulated her. I calmed her down and explained to her what happened to her was completely okay as it happened to me all the time. I thought about Bri Randall. She had come forward about this treatment, and I thought back then if I could explain to her what happened to her she would understand it was okay too, again, as it happened to me so many times and it was only to make us better.
Still some tainted part of me thinks that maybe this was a medical procedure and that at some point it turned dark for you, because this procedure began for me much earlier than the explained times I read of 1998. This began for me when I was maybe 10 or 11 in 1990 or 1991, once I started competing. I was just a level five.
I heard Sarah Klein speak and she asked if she was the first. I wonder the same. Or were we the first? Is this when it went wrong? Or was it always wrong? I struggle within myself every day to wonder this about you.
I also remember my mom having your phone number on a private level in case I needed extra treatment. I cannot imagine what a parent goes through when they realize they were handing their daughter over to a person they trusted with our lives and in turn it ending like this.
The trust my parents had for you, the love my family had for you, the belief we had you were an angel sent from God, and how lucky we were to have you in our world, our gym, our city. I can’t imagine even for you how you would be handling this had this been a trusted friend of yours that had done this to your daughters or your wife or one of us. How would you feel? Would have you been okay with this? I can’t truly answer this for you anymore. I don’t know who you are now. Maybe I never knew. Maybe none of us did.
They asked me based on the time frame of my specific injuries and of the amount of time I saw you at your apartment or at the gym or at MSU, that the treatment happened to me about 800 times. And I’m one of the lucky ones, ironically. Not for the numbers or the amount of treatments, but that I never thought you were hurting me. All while I can now wonder if that makes me more messed up? If it makes me extremely damaged, or if that’s how you trained me to think?
I wonder if someone had listened to Bri or Larissa or sweet Kyle or had I not silenced my own best friend that maybe you would have been stopped and that these sweet, little, beautiful faces and souls would not have been hurt. I look at these young girls here and I told my mom the hardest part for me was to see how little they were. She said to me, you were that little too, if not younger.
I am angry that this time in my life is now shattered and dark. That my days as a gymnast turned into a cloud of shame and embarrassment. I saw two MSU college gymnasts this weekend and my niece wanted to get a picture with them as she loves the sport as well. I mentioned to them I was a former Twistar and immediately their faces looked at me with a kind of fear. I will never forget the way that they looked at me. It was like they could see it. I see my friends from childhood that knew me always as a gymnast and now I can see them look at me and wonder, like, was she one of them? Did he do that to her?
Many times of these days have gone from happy and strength to confusion and saddest. I still watch gymnastics on t.v. and videos of all the amazing Olympians and elites that have come forward, and I can’t help but to also know their pain, their treatment, their nausea at your laugh. These days were some of the best I’ve ever had, and I know now I just feel sad and ruined.
There is nothing like feeling someone is looking out for you, and I know so much of us from the team and the girls I lived and breathed, so many have such loyalty to you and what you did to actually fix us.
I believe some part of you was good. Some part. But now I think, were you ever really fixing us? Were you ever real or true? I can say I’m grateful I never felt terrified of you the way the others did, and I always chalked it up that we saw you every single day and that they maybe only saw you a few times. But that’s also where my self doubt and guilt has come into play. Were you ever worried for us as a result of this? Did it ever cross your mind that it was bad? Did you ever think what was best for us? Did you ever think what was best for your children? Or did you only think about yourself?
If it wasn’t you that was looking out for us, then who was? How could anyone have ever helped us if you convinced everyone that you were the good guy?
I had to make an extremely hard choice this week, Larry. I had to choose whether to continue supporting you through this or to support them, the girls. I choose them, Larry. I choose to love them and protect them. I choose to stop caring for you and supporting you. I choose to look you in the face and tell you that you hurt us. You hurt me. And I will do everything for the rest of my life to make sure that the you’s of this world don’t get to hurt another one of us.
Larry, I pray for your soul. I pray for your family. I pray for everyone that is here and to all of these out there that I know were for sure part of the back and hip injured group, and to the others that are scared to come forward and scared of the pain it will cause them to remember. I know that they’re afraid to hurt you and our community.
But I believe in doing the right thing, and I believe in the truth, and I hope for you that for the rest of your life you can choose to do the right thing. By us, by Stephanie, by your children, by our support, by the women you have hurt, by the future of athletes to come, and to all of us that loved you like family.
I hope some part of you is still good and that some part of you wants to make this better. I hope some part of you will face the truth and some part of you will choose to do the right thing. I hope you will actually apologize with your heart to these women. I hope you can realize the trauma and hurt and fear and the pain this has caused so many. I hope you will see it from me in my eyes today that I believed in you always until I couldn’t anymore.
I hope you cry like we cry. I hope you feel bad for what you’ve done. I hope more than anything each day these girls can feel less pain. I hope you want that for us. But this is good-bye to you, Larry, and this time it’s time for me to close the door. It’s time for me to stand up for these little girls and not stand behind you any more, Larry. Good-bye, Larry. May God bless your dark, broken soul.
THE COURT: Thank you. Your words echoed the sentiments of all of the other survivors, and they will also serve to protect other victims. You are sad now but you have a wonderful event, your child is coming, and I hope by then you can work on being happy, because you should really feel like a weight has been lifted. I can see it. He ruined himself.
I will consider what you have to say and have said, all of you at sentencing, but your words that you’re ruined, you’re not ruined. He ruined himself. Shovel all of that on him.
You are amazing. You’re going to be an amazing mother, an amazing spokesperson. You turned this — I hate to call it friendship because it was only one-sided, but you’ve turned it into something good for others, and shutting the door on him is a prison door. He’s not coming out between the three sentences that he will get so you shouldn’t be scared anymore. He should be scared about going to prison and listening to those resounding wonderful words you’ve said over and over and over again. You are strong. He will continue to get weaker while you’re stronger and while you’re raising that happy, healthy boy, you said?
MS. GONCZAR: Boy.
THE COURT: Congratulations. You’re outstanding, amazing. I’m so proud you came and talked to me.
MS. GONCZAR: Thank you.
MRS. HOMER: I’m just going to stay for a second.
MS. GONCZAR: Judge, this is my mom.
Dawn Homer, I just want to address Larry, if I could?
Larry, as a mom of a gymnast I want you to realize that you made all of us parents unwilling accomplices — unwilling accomplices in your sick attack on our precious girls. We thought we were so lucky to have you, and, as I’ve seen, every one of these girls feel special. We were more than willing and confident in handing over our children to you. Our precious daughters. It’s so sad and sick. It is numbing to be witnessing the disgusting accounts of the girls that you took advantage of.
It isn’t satisfying to see what’s left of you, but I can tell you it is very satisfying to see these young women rising up and becoming survivors and strong young women. They are the ones that are going to win in this, Larry. Thank you, judge.
THE COURT: Ma’am, thank you. Because as these women rise up and get stronger, what’s happening and what I’m seeing in this court is that the parents, the friends joining in, you are stronger, taller, mightier than even I ever thought, so I applaud you being here with your daughter and your words. Thank you.