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Larry Nassar Confronted in Court by Gymnastics Sex Victims

Image: Larry Nassar Confronted in Court by Gymnastics Sex Victims

Kyle Stephens gives a victims impact statement at the sentencing of Larry Nassar on Tuesday. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 January 2018 01:41 PM

Larry Nassar faces his victims this week as they confront him in court after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting female gymnasts and molesting girls who sought treatment for injuries. The first day brought some devastating testimony.

Dozens of girls and women are expected to deliver victim impact statements against the former U.S.A Gymnastics team doctor in a Michigan state court where he will be sentenced.

Kyle Stephens was the first to take the stand on Tuesday morning and gave a detailed account of how Nassar, who was a family friend, molested her from the age of six through 12, CNN reported.

Stephens said she tried to tell her parents about the molestation but they didn't believe her, ultimately leading to the deterioration of their family relationship.

Speaking in court, Stephens said Nassar was a "repulsive liar" who had brainwashed her family into believing she was not telling the truth.

"Sexual abuse is so much more than a disturbing physical act. It changes the trajectory of a victim's life, and that is something that nobody has the right to do," she said, per CNN.

Stephens said she tried one last time to tell her father about the molestation before leaving for college and that time he believed her, NBC News reported.

They tried to work on their relationship but in 2016 her father committed suicide and, although he was battling health issues at the time, Stephens blamed Nassar for her father’s death.

"Had he not had to bear the shame and self-loathing that stemmed from his defense of Larry Nassar, I believe he would have had a fighting chance for his life," she said, per NBC News.

Stephens said she was forced to live with overwhelming and complex feelings of “shame, disgust and self-hatred that brought me bouts of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other compulsive conditions," as a result of the assault, BBC News reported.

"Perhaps you have figured out by now, that little girls don't stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world,” she said to Nassar.

Donna Markham recounted how her daughter Chelsey Markham’s life went into a downward spiral after Nassar sexually abused her at the age of 12.

In 2009 Chelsey Markham committed suicide at the age of 23, and her mother blames Nassar.

"Every day I miss her,” she said, per CNN.

“And it all started with him. It all started with him, and it just became worse as the years went by until she just couldn't deal with it anymore.”

Jessica Thomashow also shared her account, recalling how Nassar had molested her when she was 12 while seeking treatment for a stress fracture on her ankle in 2012, BBC noted.

"What you did to me was so twisted. You manipulated me and my entire family. How dare you,” she said.

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Larry Nassar faces his victims this week as they confront him in court after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting female gymnasts and molesting girls who sought treatment for injuries. The first day brought some devastating testimony.
larry nassar, confront, gymnastics, sex victims, court
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Tuesday, 16 January 2018 01:41 PM
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