In a statement shared on her Instagram earlier this month, gymnast Simone Biles revealed that she had been sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. He has been accused by more than 100 women, many who came forward during a hearing that lasted seven days, of child sexual abuse. This despite the fact that he had only pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct pertaining to encounters with underage girls.
On Wednesday morning he was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison. The judge who sentenced him is Rosemarie Aquilina, of Michigan, and she let every woman who said they were abused by Nassar speak through their impact statements. Afterward, she told him as she sentenced him to spend the rest of his days behind bars that “You’ve done nothing to deserve to walk outside a prison again.”
“It is my honor and privilege to sentence you,” Judge Aquilina said before adding, “I just signed your death warrant.”
Knowing that justice had been served, Biles took to Instagram on Wednesday to thank Judge Aquilina.
“THANK YOU, YOU ARE MY HERO” she said. “Although there is not a scripted path to healing. I know it makes me feel relieved that he can no longer hurt any more beautiful souls.”
She also made sure to thank and support the many other women who were abused by Nassar and were brave enough to come forward to speak in the courtroom.
“I just wanted to shout out all of the other survivors for being so brave and speaking like the queens that you are while looking at that monster and not letting him destroy you anymore,” she said. “He will no longer have the power to steal our happiness or joy. I stand with every one of you.”
In her original statement from January 15, the Olympic gold medalist admitted that she spent years thinking abuse she faced from Nassar was her own fault. Thankfully she realized she could no longer blame herself for the actions, and inactions, of those who were supposed to protect her and the many other young gymnasts.
“I am not afraid to tell my story anymore. I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” she said. “For too long I have asked myself, ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answers to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG [USA Gymnastics], and others.”