When Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar toWednesday, touting her "privilege" to issue his "death warrant," there was applause in a courtroom that had seen more than 150 different women speak out against Nassar's alleged sexual abuse.
Former Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman told the 54-year-old Nassar "you are nothing," and another victim, among dozens who reported molestation outside of the doctor's work with Team USA, told the disgraced sports medicine specialist to "enjoy Hell."
At least one victim, however, extended forgiveness.
Rachael Denhollander, another former gymnast and the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of abuse in 2016, was the last to offer a victim impact statement in Aquilina's Michigan courtroom, which saw its sentencing hearing extend into a second week. And the woman's 36-minute address was punctuated with mercy.
"In our early hearings, you brought your Bible into the courtroom and you have spoken of praying for forgiveness," Denhollander told Nassar, who at one point. "And so it is on that basis that I appeal to you. If you have read the Bible you carry, you know the definition of sacrificial love portrayed is of God himself loving so sacrificially that he gave up everything to pay a penalty for the sin he did not commit. By his grace, I, too, choose to love this way."
"Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have done," she continued, "the guilt will be crushing. And that is what makes the gospel of Christ so sweet. Because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found. And it will be there for you. I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight of guilt so you may someday experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me -- though I extend that to you as well."
Denhollander also quoted C.S. Lewis during her speech, per The Washington Post, and prayed with family before her court appearance. Her statement in its entirety can be watched here:
Nassar, who was previously sentenced to 60 years in prison for possession of child pornography, will first be, or 2117.