Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty Wednesday to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, reports the Lansing State Journal. All but one woman was abused during a medical appointment. Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina set a sentencing hearing for January 12, at which any victim of Nassar may make statements. “I think this is important, what I’ve done today to help move the community forward and away from the hurting, let the healing start,” Nassar said, adding, “For all those involved, I’m so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control.”
A a plea agreement with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office set a sentencing range of 25 to 40 years as the low end of Nassar’s prison sentence. The charges carry maximum sentences of life in prison. A few of more than 140 women and girls who say Nassar abused them were in court. Among them was Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to accuse Nassar publicly of sexual assault. “I don’t believe there was anything sincere in what Larry said, other than his desire to refocus the attention on the good he believed he did today by allowing the community to move forward,” Denhollander said after Wednesday’s hearing. More than 140 women and girls have filed lawsuits against Nassar, Michigan State University or USA Gymnastics and said that Nassar sexually abused them. The allegations date to 1994.