Former gymnast who broke Olympic sex abuse case shares Gospel with abuser in court
Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast who was sexually abused by an ex-US Olympics gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar when she was 15, shared the Gospel to her abuser when she delivered her victim impact statement in court on Wednesday.
Nassar, who was accused of sexually molesting more than 150 girls and women over the past two decades, has been sentenced to 175 years and pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual assault.
During the hearing, Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault, chastised Nassar for his actions citing the Bible and spoke to him about forgiveness and repentance.
The former gymnast noted that she had observed that Nassar had previously brought the Bible into the courtroom and spoke of praying for forgiveness.
"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," she said, as reported by The Christian Post.
She told her abuser that he would not earn Jesus' forgiveness by doing good things, but only by "repentance which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror without mitigation."
Denhollander warned Nassar that the Bible talks about a "final judgment where all of God's wrath and eternal terror is poured out on men like you," but she went on to say that there is still hope for him despite his crimes.
"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," she said.
She said that she prayed that Nassar would feel the "soul crushing weight of guilt" so that he may repent someday and receive forgiveness from God. She noted that she had already forgiven him, but she asked the court to hand down a sentence that would show the victims that they deserve "the greatest protection the law can offer."
Denhollander has said that she was abused by Nassar at his Michigan State University clinic when she was just 15-years-old. The former gymnast, now 32, has since been married and is now working as an attorney.
During the sentencing hearing, over 150 women who stated they were abused by Nassar came to present their testimony. Nassar reportedly dabbed at his eyes during some of the statements over the seven-day hearing, and other times, he sat emotionless.
Among Nassar's other victims were Olympic champions Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and U.S. Olympics gymnast Aly Raisman, who also testified against the doctor in court.
The president of Michigan State University, Lou Anna Simon, reportedly resigned within hours of Nassar's sentencing.
People in East Lansing and throughout the state of Michigan called on her to resign saying the university had failed to properly look into sexual abuse allegations against Nassar over the years.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina also chastised Nassar when she handed down the sentence of 40 to 175 years in prison. "I just signed your death warrant," she said, after hearing the testimonies of 150 women.