date of testimony: January 22th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age at first abuse: 14
statement read by court official Ms Povilaitis
The next statement, another statement I will read, on behalf of anonymous victim number 185. As one of Larry Nassar’s last victims, I would like to tell my daughter’s story — let me just back up a little bit. This is written from a mother on behalf of her daughter, who is a minor, who is victim 185.
As one of Larry Nassar’s last victims, I would like to tell my daughter’s story and how what has been done to her has affected our entire family.
My daughter is currently a 14-year-old high school freshman. She doesn’t ever want to discuss Larry, what he did to her, or his ongoing trials, but I watch and I follow what is happening with him and it pleases me to know he will never be released from prison.
I have been watching the victim impact statements and crying along with the brave young women for telling their stories, and I applaud you, Judge Aquilina, for allowing them to do so and for making Larry listen to how he has changed their lives forever.
What our friends and family see is a typical family with a typical teenage girl, but nothing about her is typical anymore. Larry saw to that. My beautiful girl went from a bubbly social butterfly to a sullen, quiet, scared girl that doesn’t trust anyone. How could she be expected to trust when someone she thought was the answer to helping her turned out to be the person that hurt her the most?
Our story starts out the same as all the others, my daughter was a high level gymnast at Twistars. She worked her butt off because she had dreams of being a collegiate gymnast. When she started having hip and back pain, John Geddert made her see Larry. Being in the health care field, I had taken her to several doctors at the hospital I work at. Every time she was given doctor’s instructions to follow at practice, John would ignore them and would tell her, only Larry could fix her.
Larry contacted me on Facebook to schedule her first appointment. I thought, wow, how cool is that? This amazing, world class doctor wants to help. Since we lived about an hour from Michigan State University I had to schedule appointments late in the day to accommodate my daughter’s school and practice schedule and Larry’s current patient load.
Larry was always assuring us it wasn’t a problem and that he often stays late at the office seeing patients. He even offered to see her at his house if we ever needed a weekend appointment. Again, I thought, wow, this man is incredible. He told her he could and would fix her and wanted to see her three times a week until she was better.
Our appointments sometimes lasted hours. Yes, hours. And not just because we were sitting in the waiting room. He tried everything; acupuncture, steroid injections, and, of course, massage. He always positioned himself so his back was to me and I couldn’t see my daughter. His eyes were always closed when he was up close to her. In thinking this was a bit creepy, I asked him once why that was. He said it was so he could concentrate on feeling the muscles release.
He would also talk about strange things like sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and all of the world class and Olympic athletes he had the privilege of treating. He always name dropped and was clearly never in compliance with HIPAA. He often told us that he would tell gymnasts to stay away from sex and drugs but that rock and roll was okay. I thought good advice but not really appropriate conversation during a medical appointment.
By this time nothing about Larry was appropriate and nothing I had ever experienced with a doctor. My daughter often left the appointments in tears, and when I asked her why, she always said that nothing he was doing helped and she just wanted him to stop. When I asked her what she wanted him to stop, she always said, everything.
After about four months of treatments with no progress we did stop seeing Larry. My daughter decided to quit the sport she was obsessed with for most of her life and concentrate on other things.
After she made this decision I started noticing strange behavior from her. She started spending all of her time in her room, sleeping with the lights on, and suddenly bursting into tears for no reason. She spent less and less time with her friends and more time sleeping.
I took her to a therapist and she said my daughter had experienced a lot of life changing events and she needed time to adjust to her new life. She also said her body and hormones were kicking in and that most likely had something to do with her behavior. A great explanation and I believed it, for a while, until this story broke about Larry.
My husband and I sat our daughter down to discuss what had happened with Larry and if he had ever done anything like that to her. That’s when the floodgates of tears opened and she told us it happened at every appointment. Every appointment. Needless to say, we were shocked, angry, hurt, disappointed, and every other emotion you could experience. We wanted him to pay the ultimate price for hurting our baby.
My daughter needs to find peace with what he has done, and I wish so badly that she would watch these impact statements so she would know she’s not alone, but she won’t. She thinks she can bury this experience deep down and pretend nothing happened, but I know she can’t. She refuses counseling, refuses to see male doctors, refuses to let anyone get close to her except one friend, and she rarely socializes with school friends. Most parents would say that’s great, but I see it as a sign of deep depression and I’m scared her world is going to come crashing down one day and that she won’t be able to pick up the pieces. I’m scared she will never find and trust a man to spend the rest of her life with because she doesn’t want to let anyone in, and the only man she trusts is her dad.
There are so many people responsible for his actions, so many that were concerned with reputation and medals and they ignored their responsibility as humans to protect the lives of the innocent young girls we entrusted them to.
Under normal circumstances people are not investigated as many times as Larry was and accused as many times as Larry was without someone saying, hm, maybe this guy isn’t what he portrays. Maybe these girls should be taken seriously and we should put an end to his employment.
If any one of those so-called in-the-dark administrators had really looked into the allegations, my daughter and so many others would not have sought treatment from Larry. When I Googled his name and found every one article — pardon me, when I Googled his name and had found even one article about his alleged abuse, I never would have taken my daughter to him, but none of that happened. My daughter should not have been a victim. They could have stopped him years ago and neglected to do so.
They never enforced their own policies to protect themselves from further allegations or to protect him from preying on more victims. They just let him keep doing what he was doing.
For this, I feel all responsible need to pay, and not just financially. They need to pay with their careers and they need to spend time in prison. Judge Aquilina, please sentence Nassar to 125 years with no possibility of parole. Thank you for your compassion and for allowing these ladies their day in court.
Bill Schuette, please investigate further and please find everyone who allowed this monster to prey on our babies and make them pay for their actions or inactions.
Larry, you had everything, a beautiful family, a great career, people who looked up and loved you. Why? Why wasn’t that enough? Why did you feel it necessary to destroy so many young girls? Why do you refuse to accept full responsibility for what you did? You say you want the healing to begin, yet you make comments and write letters to try to protect yourself from detrimental emotional abuse.
Really? If I could, I would inflict more of that emotional abuse on you, and my hope is once you are in prison many will inflict upon you what you deemed medically necessary to do to so many young little girls.
And, finally, to all of the brave young women, you are heroes. You are making a difference in not only your own lives but to so many others.
You are demanding change and you are demanding to be heard. I have been so inspired by your strength and determination to not let this monster destroy another life. Thank you for your bravery and for your courage. Signed, victim number 185.
THE COURT: Thank you. That mother made a difference as well. She’s brave as well. I’m hoping that at some point her daughter hears her words and the words of the sister survivors and knows that she’s not alone. I hate to see her in that dark place. I’m sure she’s in counseling. I’m hoping that she’ll watch, but she has to be ready to watch, and she has time, but I’m hoping that mother is comforted that she has made a difference today by speaking out. Thank her.
MS. POVILAITIS: We will. Thank you.