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Simone Biles to Larry Nassar judge: 'You are my hero'

By Alex Butler
Simone Biles to Larry Nassar judge: 'You are my hero'
Aly Raisman puts her arm around Simone Biles of the United States after they win the silver and gold medals in the floor exercise at the Olympic Arena of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Team USA gymnastics star Simone Biles is calling the judge who sentenced Larry Nassar her "hero."

Michigan judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced the former Team USA and Michigan State University doctor to 40 to 175 years in prison Wednesday at Ingram County Circuit Court in Lansing, Mich.

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Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Weber were among the athletes who have said they were molested by Nassar. A total of 168 women and girls testified or had statements read at the seven-day sentencing hearing.

Nassar was convicted on all seven counts of criminal sexual conduct.

RELATED Michigan State University president resigns after Nassar sentencing

"To Judge Aquilina: THANK YOU, YOU ARE MY HERO," Biles wrote on social media Wednesday. "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."

"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 any more. He will no longer have the power to steal our happiness or joy. I stand with every one of you."

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Raisman also thanked Aquilina, prosecutors, law enforcement officials, family, friends, the gymnastics community and members of the media Wednesday on social media.

"To judge Aquilina, thank you from the bottom of my heart," Raisman wrote. "Your leadership, your professionalism, your compassion, and you commitment to allow each and every one of us survivors the opportunity to share our impact statements in open court was extremely important and meaningful. As I shared in court, I wasn't planning to speak, but thanks to the army of survivors and you, I am forever grateful that all of our voices are finally heard. Thank you for listening to us all."

RELATED USA Gymnastics: Board of directors members resign

Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison in December on federal child pornography charges. He also awaits sentencing on three criminal sexual conduct charges in a separate case out of nearby Eaton County, Mich.

Michigan State president Lou Ann Simon resigned on Thursday, citing the Nassar scandal. The move came after more than 16,000 people signed a petition calling for Simon's resignation.

Several high-ranking USA Gymnastics board of directors members opted to resign on Monday.

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