Former US Olympic gymnast Larry Nasar has pleaded guilty to seven counts of assault on the women and girls who care for him.
Larry Nasar is accused of harassing seven girls, many of whom are gymnasts, while working for American gymnastics and Michigan State University.
As part of a plea deal, the 54-year-old could receive at least 25 years in prison.
The hearing comes after a third former US Olympian, Gabby Douglas, accused him of abuse.
In a statement to the court on November 22, Larry Nasar pleaded guilty to “moving the community forward and stopping injuries.”
He said: “I’m so sorry it was like a game that turned into a forest fire, out of control.
“I want them to recover. I want this community to heal. I have no enmity towards anyone. I just want healing. It is time.”
Ingham District Court Judge Rosemary Aquilina said, noting that the abuse was a national “epidemic”: “You used the position of trust you had in the meanest way – to abuse children.
“You broke the oath you took, which means you won’t hurt them, and you hurt them. Selfish. “
Many of Larry Nasar’s prosecutors testified that they were abused while he was examining the young athletes, and sometimes while their parents were nearby.
He is accused of abusing more than 130 women – including Olympic gold medalists Gabby Douglas, Ali Reisman and McKayla Maroney – when he was a doctor on the US women’s gymnastics team.
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Gabby Douglas, who was one of the so-called ferocious fives that won gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, revealed her accusation on Instagram.
The Olympic gymnast wrote: “I did not share my experience publicly, as well as many other things, because for years we were forced to remain silent and some things were extremely painful.”
During the hearing, Ali Reisman, a member of the Olympic teams in 2012 and 2016, wrote on Twitter that she was “disgusted” that Larry Nasar, who had lost his license, was listed as a doctor.
Larry Nasar’s case was part of a scandal in which US Gymnastics President Steve Penny resigned in 2016. Steve Penny was accused by victims of failing to promptly notify authorities of allegations of abuse.
In a statement following the announcement of the plea agreement, USA Gymnastics, the organization that designates the US Olympic team, said it was “very sorry that an athlete was harmed” by Larry Nasar.
They added that it was “important” for him to admit “his horrific and disgusting behavior” in court, and said the deal “allows punishment without further victimization of survivors”.
Larry Nasar has already pleaded guilty to multiple child abuse charges in federal court and could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The former doctor is due to be sentenced on January 12.