Larry Nassar, the former doctor for the USA Gymnastics team, has pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual misconduct, CNN reports.
Three of the seven charges involved victims below the age of 13. Three more involved victims between the ages of 13 and 15.
Hundreds of victims have come forward with stories of abuse at the hands of Nassar, including many Olympic competitors for the US national team. Gold medalists including Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney have all said that Nassar abused them while working for the Olympic Committee. The abuse had gone on for decades, kept an open secret until two former gymnasts spoke to The Indianapolis Star about their experience with Nassar. Nassar had been reported to the authorities in 2015.
125 victims came forward to the Michigan State Police with stories of abuse, and every one of them will be allowed to make statements at Nassar’s sentencing, which will take place in January. Nassar apologized and said he pleaded guilty to stop the “hurting.” He had been charged with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct and 11 more counts of third-degree criminal sexual misconduct.
Nassar isn’t the first predator to have worked with an American Olympic organization. The Washington Post detailed decades of sexual abuse endured by Olympic athletes. In the Nassar case alone, the USA Gymnastics team waited five weeks after hearing reports of Nassar’s abuse in 2015 before reporting him to the authorities, and they never informed Michigan State Police. Nassar continued to work with young athletes until the summer of 2016.
In response to the knowledge that their program has been compromised for decades (they didn’t even require criminal background checks until 2014), the Olympic Committee has handed control of dealing with sexual abuse cases to a new nonprofit agency, the U.S. Center for Safe Sport. The former president of USA Gymnastics, Steve Penny, has resigned, and will be replaced by Kerry J. Perry, its first female president.
Nassar is also accused of possession of child pornography and destroying evidence. His hearing in that case is scheduled for Monday.