Louisville woman helps put Dr. Larry Nassar behind bars

Louisville woman helps put Dr. Larry Nassar behind bars
Rachel Denhollander was the last to speak at Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville resident Rachael Denhollander was one of the first women to come forward with public accusations against Dr. Larry Nassar who on Wednesday was sentenced to 40 to 175 years for abusing girls and young women.

Denhollander was the last to speak at Nassar's sentencing hearing.  She was barely 15 years old at the time, and suffering from chronic back pain, when Dr. Nassar stole her innocence.

"Larry is the most dangerous type of abuser.  One who is capable of manipulating his victims through coldly calculated grooming methodologies presenting the most wholesome and caring external persona," Denhollander said in the courtroom.

She told Judge Rosemarie Aquilina in the Lansing, Michigan courtroom that how much time he is sentenced to all comes down to one question.

"How much is a little girl worth? How much is a young woman worth?" Denhollander said.

Denhollander told the courtroom it took years to trust people.  And as she holds her three young children, wonders how Nassar could have violated innocent lives.

"Larry meticulously groomed me for the purpose of exploiting me for his sexual gain.  He penetrated me, groped me, fondled me and then he whispered questions about how it felt," Denhollander said.  She also said that he did this with her mother in the examination room, but obstructing her views.

Nassar is now convicted of molesting girls for years under the guise of giving them medical treatment, some just 6 years old.

Denhollander also talked about the adults surrounding Nassar that she trusted to keep her safe at Michigan State University, where Nassar worked, as well as USA Gymnastics.

"Creating a culture where predators like Larry and so many others in the organization, up to the highest level coaches were able to sexually abuse children, including our Olympians without any fear of being caught," she said. Her statement received applause and Judge Aquilina told her that she built an army of survivors and is a five-star general.

The Judge told Nassar "It is my honor and privilege to sentence you because sir you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again."

This was a seven-day hearing that drew more than 150 women to speak out publicly about the abuse by Nassar.

In November, he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing seven girls.  He's already been serving time for child pornography convictions.

After the sentence came down the US Olympic Committee issued a statement calling on the gymnastics board to resign and said steps will be taken to repair the damage done to the sport.

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