The father of three girls who were allegedly sexually assaulted by serial pedophile Larry Nassar attacked the former USA Gymnastics doctor during his third sentencing hearing, in Charlotte, Michigan, on Friday.
Randall Margraves sprinted across the courtroom toward Nassar, ramming into the defense table before being pushed away by an armed guard and tackled by security.
Moments before, Randall Margraves had asked the judge whether he could get “five minutes in a locked room with this demon” as part of the sentencing. The judge said she could not grant that, and Margraves, shaking his head, called Nassar “a son of a bitch.”
After the judge warned Margraves about profanity, Margraves tried to attack Nassar before being pulled to the ground and put in handcuffs by armed guards.
Two of Margraves’ daughters, Lauren and Madison, had spoken at the hearing Friday, among 30 women and girls to give statements during a multiday hearing that focused on Nassar's work at the Twistars elite gymnastics club near Lansing. A third Margraves daughter spoke at Nassar’s previous hearing, in Ingham County, last week.
“Give me one minute with that bastard,” Margraves said after he was on the ground.
Once Margraves was removed from the courtroom in handcuffs, Nassar returned and the proceedings appeared to continue. Judge Janice Cunningham addressed the chaos.
"Obviously what just occurred in the courtroom was scary and caused a level of discomfort for all of you," Cunningham said. "I'm sorry that happened."
“My heart started beating fast and my legs felt shaky because of that quick eruption of violence,” the judge added.
While acknowledging Margraves’ pain, she urged the courtroom to let the criminal justice system proceed.
"I recognize that Mr. Margraves had three daughters that he has had to watch go through the pain and the hurt," Cunningham said. "If it is hard and difficult for me to hear what his daughters had to say, I can’t imagine what it is like for him… What Mr. Nassar did was horrible. It's unthinkable. But please let the criminal justice system do what it's supposed to do."
Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis also addressed the visibly uncomfortable gallery of the courtroom.
“This is letting [Nassar] have this power over us,” Povilaitis 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.”
Another dramatic moment in the proceedings Friday came from the mother of one victim, Megan Simon, who passed away in April 2012 at age 23 years old. In a statement to Nassar on her daughter's behalf, she said, "I’m sure when Megan got to heaven, she and God had a long conversation about you. And he will deal with you accordingly,” her mother told the court, through tears. “You, Larry, are a piss-poor excuse of a man.”
Nassar, 54, was in court Friday to be sentenced for the third and final time for sexually assaulting scores of girls and women under his medical care over decades.
He was sentenced last week in Ingham County Circuit Court, where he had pleaded guilty last fall to seven counts of sexual assault. He has received sentences of 60 years for a conviction related to child pornography and of 40 to 175 years for the sexual abuse charges in Ingham County. More than 160 women and girls came forward in that hearing to give victim statements of sexual abuse.
Multiple investigations have been launched into how Nassar’s abuse could have carried on undetected for decades. By last Friday, every board member of USA Gymnastics had resigned after the U.S. Olympic Committee threatened to decertify the program.
Cover: Randall Margraves (left), father of three victims of Larry Nassar, lunges at Nassar, bottom right, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Michigan. The incident came 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. (Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)