3 Feb 2018

Father lunges at disgraced US doctor

11:14 am on 3 February 2018

A father whose three daughters were abused by disgraced US gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has tried to attack him in a Michigan courtroom.

Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Photo: AFP

Randall Margraves had to be restrained by three court security officers.

Before rushing to the table where Nassar was sitting, the man had asked to have "five minutes in a locked room with that demon".

Judge Janice Cunningham said she could not allow that.

Mr Margraves then asked the judge for just one minute, to awkward laughter from the courtroom.

The judge repeated her refusal - and shouts and gasps were heard as the furious father bolted towards Nassar, who was present in an orange prison jumpsuit.

The dramatic intervention brought Nassar's final sentencing hearing on sexual abuse charges to an abrupt halt.

"I want that son of a bitch!" Mr Margraves shouted as he was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed.

"What if this happened to you guys?" he demanded of the officers who escorted him from the courtroom.

Two of the Margraves daughters, Madison and Lauren, had just testified about their abuse at the hands of the doctor.

The incident came as dozens of women waited for their turn to face Nassar in court and outline the abuse they suffered at his hands.

Nassar, a former US Olympic gymnastics team doctor, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison a week ago after testimony from nearly 160 of his victims.

In handing down that sentence, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar: "Sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again."

The 54-year-old was already serving 60 years in prison for possession of child sex abuse images.

Gymnasts and Olympic gold medallists Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber were among those the doctor molested.

Other victims were taken to be treated by him at Michigan State University (MSU), where he worked as a sports doctor between 1997 and 2016.

The entire board of directors for USA Gymnastics agreed to resign in the wake of Nassar's earlier sentencing on 24 January. The president and athletic director of MSU also stood down.

At his current sentencing hearing this week, Judge Cunningham said the number of known victims had grown to 265.

On Thursday, Michigan police offered a public apology to a woman whose complaint against the child abuser was ignored in 2004.

Brianne Randall-Gay was 17 years old when she reported Nassar, but police closed the case after he said he was using a medical technique.

Despite the disruption, Friday's sentencing hearing continued after a short break.

Judge Janice Cunningham called the situation "scary", but added: "I recognise that Mr Margraves had three daughters that he has had to watch go through the pain and the hurt. I can't imagine what it is like for a parent."

- BBC

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