Exactly a year after the first criminal charges were filed against him, ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual misconduct of the first degree in Ingham County.
During a plea hearing Wednesday, Nassar entered a plea agreement. In addition to pleading guilty to those seven charges, Nassar agreed to a minimum sentence of 25 to 40 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. His sentencing will be subject to the court.
Nassar's sentencing for these charges will be held Jan. 12. It will last all day and, if necessary, continue on Jan. 19. Survivors of abuse will be allowed to speak before the sentencing.
If Nassar's sentencing allows him to be released from prison, he would be monitored electronically and would become a registered sex offender.
As a part of this plea agreement, the remaining counts in his Ingham County case will be dismissed. In addition, the Michigan Attorney General's office will no longer prosecute cases reported to MSUPD, which is a total of 115 cases.
“The plea deal and conviction of Larry Nassar on Nov. 22 on state criminal sexual conduct charges in Ingham County represents another important step toward justice for the victims," MSU spokesperson Jason Cody said in a statement via email. "We are grateful for the efforts of the entire MSU Police Department, specifically the detectives in the Special Victim’s Unit, who worked diligently and tirelessly since August 2016 on building the criminal case that led to Nassar’s conviction. We also greatly appreciate the efforts put forth by the Michigan Attorney General’s office as they prosecuted the case. This cooperation was vital to the conviction.”
During the hearing, Nassar made a public statement for the first time. He called for healing within the community.
"I want them to heal," Nassar said. "I want this community to heal. I have no animosity towards anyone, I just want healing. It's time. So I guess that's the biggest thing. We need to move forward in the sense of growth and healing and I pray for that."
In response to Nassar's statement, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said Nassar abused the trust his patients had for him.
"I agree that now is a time of healing, but it may take them a lifetime of healing while you spend your lifetime behind bars," Aquilina said.
Nassar's attorney Shannon Smith said that the plea deal was the best decision for Nassar and for the community.
"Doctor Nassar is truly sorry. He has come to grips with what has happened in this case," Smith said. "I think seeing the number of cases coming his way, this was a good decision for everyone."
A plea hearing in Nassar's Eaton County case is scheduled for Nov. 29. It's expected Nassar will plead guilty to the criminal sexual misconduct charges in Eaton County as well.
Nassar is accused of sexually abusing more than 140 women and girls, ranging from local gymnasts to Olympic athletes, under the guise of medical treatment.
He was arrested in December 2016 on charges of possessing “at least 37,000” images of child pornography to which he pleaded guilty. His sentencing for these charges is set for Dec. 7. Nassar is also a defendant in a number of lawsuits, many alongside MSU.
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