Latest: United States Olympic Committee apologises to victims of Larry Nassar and targets change

Latest: United States Olympic Committee apologises to victims of Larry Nassar and targets change

Update 9.35pm: The United States Olympic Committee has apologised to the victims of disgraced former USA Gymnastics (USAG) doctor Larry Nassar after he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sex abuse.

In an open letter to Team USA athletes, USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun also demanded all current USAG directors must resign as part of efforts to "change the culture" which allowed Nassar to abuse gymnasts for many years.

USAG chairman Paul Parilla, vice-chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley resigned on Sunday but Blackmun says more must follow after the revelations in Nassar's trial, which included testimony from more than 150 of Nassar's victims including Olympians Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber.

Blackmun wrote: "The athlete testimony that just concluded in the Nassar hearings framed the tragedy through the eyes of the victims and survivors, and was worse than our own worst fears. The USOC should have been there to hear it in person, and I am deeply sorry that did not happen.

"The purpose of this message is to tell all of Nassar's victims and survivors, directly, how incredibly sorry we are. We are sorry for the pain caused by this terrible man, and sorry that you weren't afforded a safe opportunity to pursue your sports dreams. The Olympic family is among those that have failed you.

"I know this apology is not enough. We have been working on taking steps at the USOC and mandating changes among National Governing Bodies to ensure this does not happen again."

Addressing the steps to be taken, Blackmun stressed the need to change the culture of the sport.

To that end, he wrote: "We heard athletes describe being unsure or unaware of how to report abuse and to whom, and sometimes even what constitutes abuse. We heard athletes describe being afraid or discouraged from reporting abuse.

"New leadership at the board level is critical and you recently saw three USAG board resignations. Further changes are necessary to help create a culture that fosters safe sport practice. This includes a full turnover of leadership from the past, which means that all current USAG directors must resign."

Blackmun revealed the USOC has "strongly considered" removing National Governing Body status from USAG and "will pursue decertification if USA Gymnastics does not fully embrace the necessary changes in their governance structure along with other mandated changes".

There will also be an independent investigation into "when complaints were brought forward and to who", with Blackmun revealing: "This investigation will include both USAG and the USOC, and we believe USAG will cooperate fully. We will make the results public."

Nassar, 54, was last year jailed for 60 years for possessing child sex abuse images on his computer.

Earlier: US sports doctor Larry Nassar sentenced to at least 175 years

Update 5.40pm: A former Michigan sports doctor who sexually abused Olympic gymnasts and other young women for years has been sentenced to at least 175 years.

When sentencing Mr Nassar, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said, "I just signed your death warrant."

Before handing down the sentence, Judge Aquilina said, "It is my honour and privilege to sentence you because you, sir, so not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again."

The sentencing in Lansing, Michigan, capped a remarkable seven-day hearing that brought more than 150 victims or their families to court.

They confronted Nassar in person as they delivered a series of victim impact statements.

The 54-year-old worked at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

Nassar had pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting seven females in the Lansing area between 1998 and 2015, but the hearing, before Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, was open to all of his accusers.

His accusers said he would molest them while they were on a table seeking help for various injuries. Nassar also has a 60-year prison sentence for child pornography crimes.

Earlier: US sports doctor to be sentenced for abusing gymnasts

A former Michigan sports doctor who sexually abused Olympic gymnasts and other young women for years is set to be sentenced.

Larry Nassar, 54, will face justice following the statements of more than 150 victims.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina will hear from a few more victims before sending Nassar to jail on the seventh day of a remarkable hearing that has given the girls, young women and their parents a chance to confront their abuser in court.

He faces a minimum term of 25 to 40 years on molestation charges.

Among those testifying on the last day in the Michigan courtroom is Rachael Denhollander, one of the first women to publicly identify herself as one of Nassar’s young victims.

Ms Denhollander contacted Michigan State University police in 2016 after reading reports about how USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, mishandled complaints of sexual misconduct.

Nassar worked at Michigan State and also was the national gymnastics squad’s doctor.

Nassar, 54, eventually pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing area, including Ms Denhollander, but the sentencing hearing has been open to anyone who said they were a victim.

His accusers said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them, often without explanation, while they were on a table seeking help for various injuries.

The accusers, many of whom were children, said they trusted Nassar to care for them properly, were in denial about what was happening or were afraid to speak up.

He sometimes used a sheet or his body to block the view of any parent in the room.

"I’d been told during my entire gymnastics career to not question authority," a former elite gymnast, Isabell Hutchins, said.

The judge is likely to be unsparing in her treatment of Nassar. Judge Aquilina has praised the victims who have appeared in her court since January 16, calling them "sister survivors", and assuring them that their perpetrator will be punished for his crimes.

The women have included Olympians Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney.

"Your words are vital. They are as strong as your martial arts," Judge Aquilina told Christina Barba, who has known Nassar for decades and practices karate.

"They will take him down quicker and cleaner than any kick you’ve got."

Ms Hutchins and Mattie Larson, a former national gymnast, talked about how Nassar won their allegiance with sweets, Olympic trinkets and encouraging words while they were under constant scrutiny from their demanding coaches.

Brooke Hylek, a gymnast who plans to compete in college, heaped scorn on Nassar.

"I cannot believe I ever trusted you and I will never forgive you," she told him. "I’m happy you will be spending the rest of your life in prison.

"Enjoy hell, by the way."

Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes. He is scheduled to be sentenced next week on more assault convictions in Eaton County, Michigan.

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