Lawyers For Larry Nassar Say He Was Assaulted In Federal Prison
Lawyers for disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar say a judge's remarks at sentencing in a state case contributed to an assault on him at the federal prison in Arizona where he is serving 60 years for possession of child pornography.
In motions filed Tuesday requesting a resentencing for Nassar in one of his cases, lawyers blamed Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina for encouraging the assault. In January, Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in state prison for sexual assault in a Michigan case separate from the federal child pornography charges.
Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting women and girls who sought treatment from him while he was at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics.
According to The Associated Press, "During the seven-day sentencing in January at which at least 169 women and girls provided statements, ... Aquilina described Nassar as a 'monster' ... [and] said she would allow someone 'to do to him what he did to others' if the Constitution allowed."
"Unfortunately, Judge Aquilina's comments and conducting of the sentencing proceeding appeared to encourage this type of behavior," Nassar lawyers Jacqueline McCann and Malaika Ramsey-Heath wrote. They said Aquilina allowed the sentencing hearing to "devolve into a free-for-all."
The Detroit News reports that the attack on Nassar occurred in late May "within hours of being released into the general population" at the high-security United States Penitentiary, Tucson in Arizona.
The newspaper quotes Ralph Miller, a retired Bureau of Prisons employee who specialized in sex offender cases, as saying the other option for Nassar would be to move to the Special Housing Unit.
"That's the jail within the jail: lockdown 23 hours a day and they allow them out one hour a day for recreation," Miller told the News.
Nassar is currently serving a federal sentence for child pornography possession. As the AP notes, in the unlikely event that he ever gets out of federal prison, "he would begin serving the 40- to 175-year sentence in state prison that Aquilina gave him for the sexual assaults."
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.