US & Canada

Larry Nassar: Father lunges at disgraced US doctor

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Media captionVictims' father attacks Larry Nassar in courtroom

A father whose three daughters were abused by disgraced US gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has tried to attack him in a Michigan courtroom.

Randall Margraves had to be restrained by three court security officers.

Before rushing to the table where Nassar was sitting, the man had asked to have "five minutes in a locked room with that demon".

Judge Janice Cunningham said she could not allow that.

Mr Margraves then asked the judge for just one minute, to awkward laughter from the courtroom.

The judge repeated her refusal - and shouts and gasps were heard as the furious father bolted towards Nassar, who was present in an orange prison jumpsuit.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Court security staff try to shield Larry Nassar
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Margraves was tackled by three guards

The dramatic intervention brought Nassar's final sentencing hearing on sexual abuse charges to an abrupt halt.

"I want that son of a bitch!" Mr Margraves shouted as he was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed.

"What if this happened to you guys?" he demanded of the officers who escorted him from the courtroom.

Two of the Margraves daughters, Madison and Lauren, had just testified about their abuse at the hands of the doctor.

The incident came as dozens of young women waited for their turn to face Nassar in court.

Mr Margraves later came back to the courtroom to apologise for his actions, and was told he would not face charges.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Madison Rae Margraves gives her victim impact statement, alongside her parents and sister Lauren

Nassar, a former US Olympic gymnastics team doctor, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison a week ago after testimony from nearly 160 of his victims.

In handing down that sentence, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar: "Sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again."

The 54-year-old was already serving 60 years in prison for possession of child sex abuse images.

Gymnasts and Olympic gold medallists Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber were among those the doctor molested.

Other victims were taken to be treated by him at Michigan State University (MSU), where he worked as a sports doctor between 1997 and 2016.

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Media captionDefence lawyer Shannon Smith explains what it was like to represent Larry Nassar

The entire board of directors for USA Gymnastics agreed to resign in the wake of Nassar's earlier sentencing on 24 January. The president and athletic director of MSU also stood down.

At his current sentencing hearing this week, Judge Cunningham said the number of known victims had grown to 265.

On Thursday, Michigan police offered a public apology to a woman whose complaint against the child abuser was ignored in 2004.

Brianne Randall-Gay was 17 years old when she reported Nassar, but police closed the case after he said he was using a medical technique.

Despite the disruption, Friday's sentencing hearing continued after a short break.

Judge Janice Cunningham called the situation "scary", but added: "I recognise that Mr Margraves had three daughters that he has had to watch go through the pain and the hurt. I can't imagine what it is like for a parent."

The distraught father was later brought before the judge in handcuffs, and apologised to everyone in the courtroom, saying he was "embarrassed".

"I'm not here to upstage my daughters, I'm here to help them heal," he said.

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Image caption Randall Margraves apologised for his outburst, a lawyer by his side

He explained that he had not known in advance what his children were going to say.

"I got to hear that, and I got to see Larry Nassar over here shaking his head 'no,' like it didn't happen," Mr Margraves said.

The judge accepted his apology, and confirmed he will not face contempt of court charges.

"There is no way that this court is going to issue any type of punishment, given the circumstances of this case," Judge Cunningham said.

"My heart does go out to you and your family for what has happened to you."

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Media captionDozens of women describe abuse by sports doctor Larry Nassar

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