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Federal hearing will determine Nassar's prison time

A courtroom
Bill Ledbetter
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Larry Nassar could get anywhere from five to 60 years in federal prison. That’s the range Judge Janet Neff will consider at a sentencing hearing in federal court, which was just scheduled for November 27.

Nassar, who used to be the lead doctor for USA Gymnastics and was a popular clinician at Michigan State University, has been accused of sexual assault and abuse by more than 100 women and girls.

He took a plea deal last week in federal court: Nassar admitted to possessing thousands of images of child pornography, but wasn’t prosecuted for sexual assault. That was frustrating for some of his alleged victims, who say they wanted their cases prosecuted, as well.

But the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan says those victims could still be called on to testify at Nassar’s sentencing hearing this fall. Kaye Hooker, a spokeswoman for that office, wouldn’t say whether the U.S. Attorney has reached out to any individual victims about testifying. But she says Judge Neff will get a chance to consider their stories as part of Nassar’s “relevant conduct.”

Whether alleged victims want to send a letter or testify themselves on the stand, Hooker says they’re encouraged to call 1-800-225-5324 or email Reportdrabuse@fbi.gov with information.

As part of the plea deal, Nassar’s defense team has agreed not to oppose a sentence between 22-27 years. But prosecutors say they may still push for a full 60-year sentence.

Meanwhile, Nassar is still facing criminal charges in separate state cases. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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