'How much is a little girl worth?' Larry Nassar victim delivers powerful statement
9:02 AM, Jan 24, 2018
1:12 PM, Jan 24, 2018
LANSING, Mich. - The first woman to speak publicly about abuse at the hand of ex-gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar delivered the last impact statement at his sentencing hearing in court today.
"How much is a little girl worth? How much is a young woman worth? This time however, the little girls in question are not potential victims. They are real women and children. Real women and little girls who have names and faces and souls. Real women and children whose abuse and suffering was enjoyed for sexual fulfillment by the defendant," Rachael Denhollander stated.
Denhollander said Nassar groomed her for the purpose of exploiting her for his sexual gain.
"He engaged in degrading and humiliating sex acts without my consent or permission -- and Larry enjoyed it," said Denhollander.
She also placed guilt on the enabling culture that protected Nassar, blasting Michigan State University as well as coaches and officials for neglect in the handling of abuse reports.
"...the reason everyone who heard about Larry’s abuse did not believe it was because they did not listen. They did not listen in 1997, or 1998 or 1999, or 2000, or 2004, or 2014," said Denhollander. "Victims were silenced, intimated, repeatedly told it was medical treatment and even forced to go back for continued sexual assault."
At one point, Denhollander called out defense attorney Shannon Smith for trying to smear her character before defense objected and the courtroom erupted.