Judge who sentenced Nassar reacts to new documentary


‘At the Heart of the Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal’ was released Friday night on HBO, telling the story of the Larry Nassar scandal.

Nassar abused hundreds of woman and girls during his time with the Olympics, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.

This documentary tells that story, highlights survivors and how the whole case unfolded.

6 News sat down the Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, the judge who sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison, to talk about what she thinks of the documentary and how she felt to be a part of it. She says her life is much different from those seven days two years ago.

“At the end of the seven days, I handled four or five new cases, and went on into my life and not realizing that people had changed,” said Aquilina.

She’s featured in the film with one of her famous lines from the case saying “I just signed your death warrant,” to Nassar while in court.

Along with the case, stories from survivors and how the scandal unfolded is included in the documentary, but Aquilina says Nassar is not the main plot of this story.

“It’s not about Nassar anymore. It’s about global change for safety in sports and in everything we do and to keep the conversation going so the next generation does not have to deal with sexual assault,” said Aquilina.

Regarding how the scandal started, Aquilina says this needs to be a message for parents on how to spot suspicious behavior early.

“This is really about what to look for, predatory behavior, grooming, how people get caught up in this and to not believe the person who looks just like you,” said Aquilina.

Aquilina added that since this story has caught the attention of people across the world, the number of people who have stepped out of the shadows to tell their stories and that it’s opened up more conversations about sexual assault is why this case is important.

“The issues have really come forward but really what we’re seeing is not enough change, we’re still seeing people who were silenced coming forward and that is a tremendously positive change because they are feeling empowered by the sister survivors,” said Aquilina.

She added that all the positive change this has created is how the documentary ended, which she says is her favorite. 

“You see at the end of the documentary, things that are starting to tumble out now, and they’re responsible for all that great change and I think that’s uplifting and instrumental,” said Aquilina.

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