Judge Rosemarie Aquilina will go down in the history books for the blistering sentence she delivered to the disgraced former U.S. gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, but she’s already a hero of the #MeToo-era. The Michigan judge is being praised all over social media for sentencing Nassar—widely dubbed “the most prolific child molester in history”—up to 175 years in prison.
Aquilina allowed more than 150 of Nassar’s victims—including Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber—to offer their statements during the seven-day hearing, and many of them addressed him directly in court, making this their story instead of his, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Despite the athletes’ emotional and horrifying testimonies about their abuse and how much it affected their lives, Nasser reportedly defended his behavior up to the sentencing. “[I] was a good doctor because my treatments worked,” he wrote in a letter. But Aquilina was having none of that. As she sentenced the 54-year-old to 40 to 175 years in prison, she delivered blistering commentary, too.
“You do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again. Anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable. I’m giving you 175 years, which is 2,100 months. I just signed your death warrant.” —Judge Rosemarie Aquilina to Larry Nassar
“You played on everyone’s vulnerability. I’m not vulnerable. Not to you. Not to other criminals at that podium,” Aquilina said. “I swore to uphold the Constitution and the law and I am well trained. I know exactly what to do, and at this time, I’m going to do it, and I want you to know that as much as it was my honor and privilege to hear the sister survivors, it is my honor and privilege to sentence you, because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again. You have done nothing to control those urges, and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable. Sir, I’m giving you 175 years, which is 2,100 months. I just signed your death warrant.”
Aquilina is being hailed a hero. It’s hard to make something positive emerge from something so devastating for so many young girls and women, but this judge managed to do it.
Watch her full remarks here:
Below are just a few of the many athletes praising Judge Aquilina for her history-making sentencing.
1. Simone Biles
To Judge Aquilina : THANK YOU, YOU ARE MY HERO
Shout out to all of the survivors for being so brave & speaking like the queens that you are while looking at that monster. He will no longer have the power to steal our happiness or joy. I stand with every one of you 💛 pic.twitter.com/b5SMmjZgeW
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 24, 2018
2. Jordyn Wieber
Thank you to Judge Aquilina. Thank you to EVERY SINGLE person that came forward and shared their story, both in and out of the courtroom. And thank you to everyone who has reached out in support. ❤️ justice was served today and now it’s time for CHANGE #timesup pic.twitter.com/mI24s9qn1t
— Jordyn Wieber (@jordyn_wieber) January 24, 2018
3. Aly Raisman
Thank you. I appreciate you all so much. pic.twitter.com/kysEo68g5c
— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) January 25, 2018