Prosecutor reacts to Nassar's sentencing - WNEM TV 5

Prosecutor reacts to Nassar's sentencing

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Larry Nassar (Source: CNN) Larry Nassar (Source: CNN)

People across the state and the nation are still reacting after a week of emotional testimony in the courtroom.

More than 150 women came forward to speak against the horrific acts performed on them by disgraced gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

The Lansing area judge hearing the case did not hold back as she handed down Nassar’s sentence.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor up to 175 years in prison.

Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct, but more than 150 women spoke out saying they were victims.

Despite that, his sentence could have been far less.

“The judge gives a minimum and a maximum. The minimum you must serve, in this case 40 years, before he’s eligible for parole,” Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said.

Leyton said he has been following the Nassar case.

He said in Michigan the penalty for a first-degree criminal sexual felony can be up to life in prison. However, those guidelines are not set in stone and can be adjusted based on the judge hearing the case.

A shorter sentence could have been enforced, but that wasn’t the case for Nassar.

Leyton said due to the severity of these crimes it is not uncommon for a judge to exceed the guidelines.

“It does happen in cases where the actions of the perpetrator are so egregious that judges will exceed the guidelines. And Judge Aquilina did exceed the guidelines and rightfully so,” Leyton said.

When it comes to cases like this, Leyton believes the most important thing for a judge to hear is the voices of the victims, because without their testimony the outcome might have been a lot different.

“These young women who came forward were brave, were courageous, did what they had to do. Now they’re seeing justice and light at the end of the tunnel,” Leyton said.

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