In November 2017, former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting minors after over one hundred victims came forward, some dating back to the 1990s. At Nassar’s sentencing hearing, dozens of women are expected to deliver victim impact testimonies. The statements started Tuesday with a tour-de-force statement from a woman that he terrorized for six years.
“Little girls don’t stay little forever,” Kyle Stephens told her abuser. “They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.”
According to Kyle Stephens, Nassar — a family friend — abused her from the age of 6 until she told her family about the abuse when she was 12. The abuse “took place with my parents, my siblings, his wife, and his children in the same house,” Stephens said. After learning about the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal as well as learning a friend had suffered through a similar experience, Stephens decided to come forward. Unfortunately, her parents didn’t believe her, causing a rift between Stephens and her parents that she believes contributed to her father’s suicide when he started to believe his daughter. Nassar’s abuse also led to Stephens dealing with years of anxiety and eating disorders, too, she said.
Stephens spoke in support of the prosecutor’s preferred sentence: 40-125 years. The court has set aside days in order to hear at least 98 victim impact statements, but that number could change.