CHARLOTTE, Mich. (AP) — A father of three victims of Larry Nassar rushed and tried to attack the disgraced former sports doctor on Friday during a sentencing hearing in Michigan, after the judge declined his request for “five minutes” alone with Nassar in a locked room. He was quickly tackled by bailiffs.
Two of the man’s daughters had just told the judge they and another sister had been sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment. Their father, Randall Margraves, later addressed the court, telling the judge he was a “distraught father.”
Margraves looked at Nassar, shook his head and called him a profanity while speaking at the courtroom podium. The judge cautioned Margraves against using such language. He then asked for “five minutes” alone with Nassar. The judge said she couldn’t allow that. Margraves asked for one minute, but she again declined.
The father then lunged at Nassar, who was sitting nearby.
Crying could be heard in the courtroom as Nassar was escorted out. Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis told families in the courtroom to “use your words,” not physical violence.
“This is letting him have this power over us,” she said. “We cannot behave like this. I understand this is a remarkable situation. But you cannot do this. This is not helping your children. This is not helping your community. This is not helping us.”
Margraves apologized after the incident and Judge Janice Cunningham said there was “no way” she would punish him. The judge said punishment isn’t appropriate based on the crimes committed by Nassar and the anguish felt by families. But she also said it’s wrong to “combat assault with assault.”
Cunningham could have given Margraves a jail sentence or fine as she considered whether to hold him in contempt of court.
The incident occurred during the third and final sentencing hearing for Nassar on sexual abuse charges. The charges in this case focus on his work with Twistars, an elite Michigan gymnastics club. The judge resumed the hearing after about 25 minutes.
More than 30 victims have given statements so far during the hearing, which began Wednesday and resumed Friday morning.
During a similar hearing that ended last week, more than 150 girls and women came forward to say Nassar abused them under the guise of medical treatment while he worked with Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. He was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison in that case. He had already been sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges.
Earlier Friday, the judge opened the hearing by saying controversial comments made by one of Nassar’s attorney the previous day were “unfortunate.” The lawyer, Shannon Smith, told radio station WWJ that she had doubts about the large number of women and girls who say they are victims.
Cunningham said Friday that Nassar didn’t authorize the statements and has disavowed them. Cunningham said it was unfortunate Smith made the comments during the sentencing proceedings.
“What is relevant is for the court to hear each individual story and how the criminal actions of the defendant impacted each individual’s life,” Cunningham said.
More victims were expected to speak Friday. The proceedings are likely to extend into next week.