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Larry Nassar assaulted in prison, lawyers say

By
Ray Downs
Former doctor Larry Nassar is led to his during a sentencing hearing on Jan. 16. On Tuesday, his attorneys said he was assaulted in prison and should be moved to a new facility. He is serving up to 175 years in prison for child pornography and sexual assault convictions. File Photo by Rena Laverty/EPA-EFE
Former doctor Larry Nassar is led to his during a sentencing hearing on Jan. 16. On Tuesday, his attorneys said he was assaulted in prison and should be moved to a new facility. He is serving up to 175 years in prison for child pornography and sexual assault convictions. File Photo by Rena Laverty/EPA-EFE

July 25 (UPI) -- Attorneys for Larry Nassar, the former Team USA Gymnastics doctor serving up to 175 years for sexually assaulting multiple girls on the team, said he was assaulted in prison and should be moved to another facility.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Jacqueline McCann of the State Appellate Defender's Office in Detroit said Nassar was assaulted within hours of being released into the general population at an Arizona federal prison in May. He is serving part of his sentence there for possession of child pornography -- one of multiple charges he was convicted of earlier this year.

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McCann also said that Nassar should be resentenced because the person who sentenced Nassar -- Ingham County, Mich. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina -- brought unwarranted attention to her client by allowing more than 150 women to give testimonies at his nationally televised sentencing hearing, even though they weren't related to the charges for which he had been convicted.

"Judge Aquilina made numerous statements throughout the proceedings indicating that she had already decided to impose the maximum allowed by the sentence agreement even before the sentencing hearing began," McCann wrote in the filing. "Thus, from the defendant's perspective the sentencing hearing was just a ritual."

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McCann continued: "Instead of a proceeding to assist the judge in reaching a fair and just sentencing decision, the judge used the nationally televised proceeding as an opportunity to advance her own agenda, including to advocate for policy initiatives within the state as well as the federal legislatures, to push for broader cultural change regarding gender equity and sexual discrimination issues, and seemingly as a type of group therapy for victims."

McCann went on to say that Aquilina allowed the women who spoke in the sentencing hearing to say whatever they wished, including suggestions that he should be physically harmed, suggesting that the prison assault was inspired by these words.

"The judge herself openly lamented that she could not impose cruel and unusual punishment upon the defendant, indicated her expectation that he would be harmed in prison, without condemning it, and finally proclaimed, with apparent relish, that she was signing his 'death warrant,'" McCann wrote.

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At that Jan. 24 sentencing hearing, Aquilina suggested she might have allowed Nassar to be sexually assaulted as punishment if that were legal.

"Our Constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment," Aquilina said. "If it did, I have to say, I might allow what he did to all of these beautiful souls -- these young women in their childhood -- I would allow some or many people to do to him what he did to others."

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Aquilina has not responded to the motion.

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Nassar, 54, is serving a 60-year sentence for child pornography and was also sentenced to between 40 and 175 years for more than 20 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

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