It was gratifying to watch as Larry Nassar was sentenced in the latest of his court cases to a minimum of 40 years and a maximum of 125 years, concurrent to the sentence imposed by Judge Aquilina and consecutive to the federal sentence of 60 years. The question now looming over this situation is how do we move forward from this point?
First and foremost, we must make sure that the victims of Nassar’s criminal conduct are supported as they begin or continue the healing process. I understand from the sentencing hearings that restitution is still open and will be decided at an upcoming court hearing. Restitution will address the victims’ needs for therapy or continued medical care.
Second, as leaders within our organizations and communities, we must work with legislators, law enforcement, and courts to insure that the laws are complied with by all organizations. The conduct of MSU, and USA Gymnastics enabled Nassar’s criminal conduct to continue for over two decades. Had the officials who were originally told of his conduct in the mid-1990s fulfilled their responsibilities with due diligence, scores of young girls and women would never have been exposed to the horrors of sexual assault. We must insure that not only are the offenders held accountable but that those who enable the offenders are also held to account.
And finally, we must work together to insure that our communities are safe for all residents. People of all ages and genders must have the confidence that when they legitimately report that they have been sexually assaulted, law enforcement will act responsibly upon that information, in full compliance with the laws. Where the laws are weak or ineffective, we must insure that new laws are passed and upheld. When victims are found, we must do all in our power to insure that they are made whole again. To do nothing is not an option.