‘I JUST SIGNED YOUR DEATH WARRANT’: Tough talking judge sentences doctor to 40-175 years for child sex abuse

LANSING, MI — A former USA Gymnastics team doctor who admitted to sexually abusing seven gymnasts who were under his care received the tongue lashing of his life Wednesday, courtesy of a no-nonsense judge.

Appearing before Judge Rosemarie Aquilina in Ingham County Circuit, Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison, but not before getting a dress down from the judge, who fumed over the disgraced doctor’s victimization of his patients.

Prior to Nassar’s being sentenced, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis addressed the court with her final remarks.

“The breadth and ripple of this defendant’s abuse and destruction is infinite,” Povilaitis said. “Nassar used his prestige to gain [his victims’] trust and to exploit them, leaving many of the emotionally shattered by a man they not only trusted but loved. In competitive gymnastics, he found the perfect place for his master manipulation.”

The prosecutor’s comments clearly worked, as Aquilina seemingly took great pleasure in handing down her order.

“It is my honor to sentence you because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again,” Aquilina told Nassar. “Anywhere you walk, destruction would occur to those most vulnerable.”

“I just signed your death warrant,” she added.

Officials from the Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, and the U.S. Olympic Committee allegedly knew about Nassar’s abuse but did nothing to stop it. Many of these same officials are now named as co-defendants in civil suits which will soon be headed to trial

“Adult after adult protected you,” Olympic medalists Aly Raisman, one of Nassar’s victims, said last week when she appeared in court. “How do you sleep at night? You are the person they had ‘take the lead on athlete care.’ I cringe to think your influence remains in the policies they [USA Gymnastics] claim will make athletes safe.”

“I will not rest until every last trace of the influence you had on this sport has been destroyed like the cancer it is,” Raisman added.

Brooke Hylek, another gymnast and childhood victim of Nassar, appeared in court to share her story.

“I cannot believe I ever trusted you, and I will never forgive you,” Hylek said Tuesday. “I’m happy you will be spending the rest of your life in prison. Enjoy hell by the way.”

During the seven-day sentencing hearing, the judge allowed anyone who claimed to be a victim of childhood sex abuse at the hands of Nassar to address the court through victim impact statements.

In all, 156 showed up.

Nassar is now serving a 60-year sentence on child pornography charges. Next week, he is scheduled to appear in an Eaton County, Michigan court for sentencing on additional sexual assault convictions.


Men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino ‘effectively fired’ in midst of FBI probe, say reports

LOUISVILLE, KY– University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich have each been placed on administrative leave amid an FBI probe involving an assistant coach, the university announced on Wednesday.

Pitino, the head coach at the university, coached the Cardinals to the NCAA championship in 2013.

Pitino’s attorney, Steve Pence, told the Courier-Journal that Pitino was “effectively fired” in violation of the coach’s contract which requires 10 days’ notice before Pitino is fired to allow “an opportunity to be heard.”

The action against Pitino comes after the school acknowledged Tuesday that the men’s program was part of a federal investigation on alleged bribery of recruits which resulted in the arrest of 10 people, including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

According to a report published by Sports Illustrated (https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2017/09/27/louisville-fbi-investigation-rick-pitino-brian-bowen) Pitino had a brief meeting with the school’s interim president late Wednesday morning appeared emotional as he left the room.

Pitino was already suspended for the first five ACC games of this season after an investigation into the program’s high-profile escort case. The FBI released evidence that a Louisville assistant coach had planned to send $100,000 to the father of an All-American recruit, named by many sources to be freshman forward Brian Bowen.

Interim president Greg Postel said on Wednesday that the school will work quickly to name an interim coach and athletic director and that replacements may be announced within 48 hours.

“I’m more angry than embarrassed,” Postel said. “We will be looking for someone [to replace Pitino] with integrity. There’s no reason this team can’t have a good season.

“It is vital for this university to strictly adhere to the NCAA rules and of course federal law. Failure to do that would be a tacit endorsement of criminal behavior.”

Eastern Kentucky v Louisville

STANDING FOR WHAT’S RIGHT: Alejandro Villanueva merch flies off shelves after Steelers player stands alone for national anthem

PITTSBURGH, PA — Patriots across America flocked to sports stores on Monday, clamoring for merchandise bearing the name of Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva.

The rush for fan gear comes one day after the former Army Ranger defied his coach’s order to sit out the national anthem, choosing instead to come out of the locker room and stand in support of the flag and, according to the NFL’s official online merchandise site, Villanueva jerseys are far outselling those of his fellow NFL players (http://www.nflshop.com/Jerseys/pg/1/ps/84/so/top_sellers).

Villanueva’s defiance followed calls by President Trump for NFL players to show support for the flag.

In a barrage of Sunday morning tweets, Trump criticized players who bent a knee in protest instead of standing for the national anthem and called out the NFL for their ever dropping ratings, claiming patriotic Americans were “fed up” with player tactics.

The tweets came just one day after the President told a crowd of supporters at a rally in Alabama that NFL team owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who “disrespects our flag.”

However, despite almost instantaneous social media praise for Villanueva from NFL fans on Sunday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made it clear he was less than pleased with his player’s decision to ingore a direct order.

“Many of them felt like something needed to be done. I asked those guys to discuss it and whatever they discussed that we have 100 percent participation or we do nothing,” Tomlin said in a post game news conference. “They discussed it for an appropriate length of time and they couldn’t come to an understanding, so they chose to remove themselves from it. They were not going to be disrespectful in the anthem so they chose not to participate, but at the same time many of them were not going to accept the words of the president.”

When asked about Villanueva ignoring the order and coming out for the anthem, Tomlin replied: “Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team.”

Many of Villanueva’s fellow teammates also took a swipe at his decision to stand for the pledge.

“Some guys wanted to take a knee, guys wanted to stand,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said after the game. “We said whatever we do, we need to make sure we’re unified as one group because that’s what we’re about, and that’s what this should be about is staying together as one unit and one group and one brotherhood, things like that.

“So rather than have some guys kneel and some guys stand, the conclusion was made kind of by everybody that the best thing to do was just to stay in the locker room or in the tunnel, if you will.”

Steelers linebacker James Harrison echoed Roethlisberger’s comments, telling Penn Live (http://www.pennlive.com/steelers/index.ssf/2017/09/steelers_national_anthem_vote.html), “We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously. But, I guess we weren’t.”

However, not all of Villanueva’s teammates disapproved.

One fellow teammate, Cam Heyward, said he stands by the bronze star veteran’s decision. “We support our guy Al,” Heyward told ESPN (http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20810701/pittsburgh-steelers-surprised-alejandro-villanueva-move). “He feels he had to do it. This guy served our country, and we thank him for it.”