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Olympic gymnast, other victims won’t testify at doctor’s sentencing

By in Press Enterprise on December 1, 2017

By Scott Reid

A U.S. District Court judge has denied a motion that would have allowed Olympic champion McKayla Maroney and other survivors of former U.S. Olympic gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse to testify at his sentencing hearing on federal child pornography charges Dec. 7.

U.S. attorneys had asked that Maroney and five other former female athletes who allege they were sexually abused by Nassar be allowed to give in-person, victim impact statements at the federal hearing in Michigan. But Judge Janet T. Neff denied the request on Thursday, ruling that the federal hearing was not the proper forum.

Nassar earlier this year pled guilty to receiving and possessing child pornography and obstruction of justice after federal agents found more than 37,000 images of child pornography on his computer. Some of the child pornography depicts children as young as infants, according to court documents. Nassar earlier this month also pled guilty to sexual abuse in two Michigan state court cases.

“There is no question that the Court’s consideration of Defendant’s sexual assaults against these victims is permissible and relevant to the Court’s sentencing of Defendant on the federal offenses in accordance to federal sentencing law,” Neff wrote in the ruling. “The court’s decision on the Government’s motion is by no means- intended to deny these victims — of clearly horrific conduct — a voice. Their statements deserve to be heard, in the appropriate forum, at the proper time.”

But Neff denied the motion, saying “the Court’s concern in regard, indeed obligation is that we do not lose sight of the many other countless and perhaps unknown victims of Defendant’s conduct underlying the federal charges.”

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