Ex-Gymnastics Doctor Faces Sentencing In Michigan
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Let's turn now to Lansing, Mich., for a sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar that's continuing. Nearly 90 women who allege they were sexually assaulted by the disgraced former team doctor for the U.S. gymnastics team are expected to testify this week. The first accuser in the court room yesterday was Kyle Stephens, a family friend, who told the court room she was assaulted by Nassar for six years.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
KYLE STEPHENS: I testified to let the world know that you are a repulsive liar and that those treatments were pathetically veiled sexual abuse. Perhaps you have you figured it out by now, but little girls don't stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.
GREENE: All right. And on Twitter this week, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles added her name to the list of accusers, which already includes fellow Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman. Nassar's already serving a 60-year sentence for possession of child pornography.
And for more, we turn to Mark Alesia. He's a reporter with The Indianapolis Star. And he was part of the investigative team that broke the story of Larry Nassar two years ago.
Hi there, Mark.
MARK ALESIA: Good morning.
GREENE: I just listened to - I mean, that tape there - little girls don't stay little forever. They turn into strong women who return to destroy your world. I mean, can you just paint a picture of what's happening in this courtroom?
ALESIA: Yeah. It really is extraordinary, certainly by my experience. It's one thing to read court documents that have some details about the allegations. But it was quite another to see person after person after person - 29 in all yesterday - expressing just profoundly personal emotions and showing such strength and resolve - with Larry Nassar sitting on the witness stand having to listen to it all.
GREENE: The fact now that we have Simone Biles, such a familiar name in this sport, coming forward with her own accusations - how big of an impact is that?
ALESIA: It's huge. Simone Biles won four gold medals at the Rio Olympics. She is one of the most successful Olympic gymnasts ever. And adding her name to the Olympians who had already come forward makes people think - well, when is this going to end? Who's next?
GREENE: Well - and before we even get to when it's going to end, we should remind people, you reported on this that this went on for years. Right?
ALESIA: It did. My colleagues Marisa Kwiatkowski and Tim Evans and I wrote in August 2016 - actually on the eve of the Rio Olympics - that USA Gymnastics, for years, had a policy of not investigating sexual abuse complaints unless there was a signed complaint by the athlete or a parent...
ALESIA: ...Which experts told us is exactly the wrong way to handle things.
GREENE: And so meanwhile, you had this team doctor for USA Gymnastics who was accused of doing all of this for years. So how is the governing body of the sport, USA Gymnastics, responding now about how this should and needs to end?
ALESIA: They have come under a lot of criticism for their statements, which some people have said have been rather tepid. They talk about supporting the athletes who have come forward. And they talk about their bravery. But there haven't been any apologies. And the chairman of the board of USA Gymnastics is still in his position. He's been in a position of oversight for 18 years. And the chairman of the board, Paul Parilla, is still in his job.
GREENE: All right, Mark Alesia is an investigative reporter for The Indianapolis Star joining us this morning.
Mark, thank you very much.
ALESIA: You're welcome.
(SOUNDBITE OF BOCHUM WELT'S "SUDDENLY SPRING") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.