Criminal Justice

Larry Nassar Sexually Abused More Than 100 Girls. That Doesn't Mean He Should Be Raped in Prison.

"Our Constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment," said Aquilina. She should have stopped there.

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Aquilina
BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS/Newscom

When Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar this week, she declared that "our Constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment. If it did, I have to say, I might allow what he did to all of these beautiful souls—these young women in their childhood—I would allow someone or many people to do to him what he did to others."

That sure sounds like Aquilina was saying she wanted Nassar to be sexually abused. That's wildly inappropriate not just in itself, but in a sentencing hearing that otherwise served as a strong reminder of the horrors of sexual assault. Nearly 150 victims were able to read impact statements before the court, and Aquilina affirmed and comforted each one after she spoke. It seems terribly unwise to compromise the moral power of that reminder by suggesting sexual assault should be a criminal punishment.

Modern, civil, liberal society has discarded the notion of "an eye for an eye." Our system is designed to achieve justice, not vengeance, which is why we extend due process even to the least sympathetic villains. I can certainly understand why Nassar victims would tempted by thoughts of vengeance. Many people enjoy imagining ghastly things happening to their enemies, and these women certainly have a legitimate reason to feel angry. But for the steward of the legal system to vocalize this scenario from the bench is another matter.

Prison rape is already all too real a phenomenon. According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, 4 percent of federal and state and prison inmates and 3.2 percent of jail inmates were sexually abused in 2011–2012. Those numbers may seem small, but the total U.S. prison population is 2.5 million. And the percentages are often higher in juvenile facilities, where the sexual abuse rate is 10 percent. In 80 percent of those juvenile cases, the perpetrator was someone who worked at the prison, rather than another inmate.

Nassar would not be a particularly sympathetic rape victim. Some would doubtless consider any violence he suffers to be cosmic justice. But Aquilina is an agent of the law, not of divine retribution.

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  1. Someone’s hoping for a Judge Rosemary Show.

    1. My thoughts as well. But, everyone I talk to about it found her detestable.

      1. We could use more judges like her in New York, to help us crack down on some of this Internet “satire” stuff. Heck, why not put her on the Court of Appeals? The former “chief judge” of that court filed an inappropriate “First Amendment dissent” in our nation’s leading criminal “parody” case, how dare he? See the documentation at:

        https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  2. Modern, civil, liberal society has discarded the notion of “an eye for an eye.” Our system is designed to achieve justice, not vengeance

    Um…
    I don’t know, Rico.

      1. Bless his heart.

  3. I don’t understand how this monster was able to molest more than 100 children without one or more of them (or their parents) calling the police. [And a father or two whipping the bastard.] MSU “heard reports” but did nothing.
    Obviously these weren’t “criminal reports.” Same failures to pursue assault charges were instrumental in Jerry Sandusky getting away with his crimes for way too many years. Damn, if these assaults are so traumatic and life changing, then have charges filed with the authorities before the molester strikes again and again.

    1. Having your child in the Olympics was obviously more important.

      1. Wouldn’t necessarily have to be anything as big as the Olympics. Many driven parents who push their kids to be high achieving are living vicariously through their kids. That their child is seen as a champ/MVP/top performer is more important to them than their child’s well being.

      2. The true problem is the obstacles to challenging someone who has an established position of prestige and power like Sandsky, Nassar, Weinstein, ad nauseam.

    2. I haven’t seen any reports that any of the girls’ parents were aware of what was going on. And I don’t blame scared and confused children for not reporting to the police. They reported to people they trusted and were let down.

      1. It seems like a lot of the victims were uncomfortable with what was going on, but convinced themselves (probably with help from parents in some cases) that it must be part of the medical treatment.

        But it does boggle the mind that such a prolific molester was not caught and punished sooner. All it takes is one complaint that goes somewhere and sticks.

        1. One of Nassar’s tactics was to have the parents in the room with the patients. This helped to disarm the children that anything was wrong. He would position himself and the child in a way that the parent’s couldn’t actually see what was going on. The kids assumed their parents could see what was happening and figured it was all normal. This is just a glimpse into how depraved and calculating of a monster he was.

          This is just an example. Sure, there were plenty of instances where the parents were in denial.

      2. They were told by a medical authority figure it was proper medical procedure.
        A teenage patient tends to trust doctors.
        Which makes Nassar’s betrayal of that trust all the more heinous.

      3. “scared and confused”? All of them, for the entire period this went on? I am confused myself. I know that, when I was at school in the 1970s/80s, I told my parents anything that went on at school, including what teachers said and did. Maybe I was just unusual, but I refused to take cr@p from anyone. Were all these children, every last one of them, either so focused on winning or so “scared and confused” that they let Nassar do whatever he wanted with them?

    3. It’s the same as with Sandusky. No one could do stuff like that for very long without other people knowing something was up. But it’s human nature. The kids and their parents probably felt powerless. The other staff either felt powerless or it was just easier to look the other way and convince themselves that it was something else.

    4. I wondered that too. Isn’t SOP to have a third party in any adult/child exam?

    5. One problem I have with this entire story in all its many forms is that no one has spelled out what is meant by “sexual abuse”.

      Are we talking rape here? Groping? A nipple tweak? A fanny pat? All sorts of things get grouped under “sexual abuse” these days… Franken’s posing in a photo about to grab some woman’s tits, H. W. Bush’s grab ass and dirty jokes (come on, the guy’s what? 95?)… even bad date sex where the woman expects her date to be a mind reader.

      Maybe what Nassar did is far worse than we know. Maybe it’s not nearly as bad. I think it’s problematic when someone is adjudged guilty in the court of public opinion without anyone knowing what actually occurred. Maybe he deserves a slap on the wrist. Maybe he deserves to be set on fire. Who knows?

      1. I’m with you. Let’s find out EXACTLY what happened. Part of the problem with this whole subject is that people get squeamish about descriptions.

      2. Some of the abused girls wrote statements that were read aloud. You can watch videos online. He started touching/molesting girls as young as 6 and was raping some of the girls as well. There are plenty of details if you want to go down that rabbit hole. He molested over 150 children over 20 years. No, he doesn’t deserve a slap on the wrist.

  4. Judge Aquilina said and did a lot of inappropriate things during this trial and sentencing. She obviously wasn’t impartial. It felt like it was personal for her. Or at least she wanted to make sure to put on a really good show so everyone would remember her the next time there’s an opening in a higher court.

    1. She was grandstanding to such a degree, on this and the death warrant line, that I wonder if she did not give grounds to overturn the sentences.

      1. I was thinking the same thing. I won’t be surprised when/ if his lawyer attempts to overturn the sentence or get the sentence reduced by arguing that the judge wasn’t impartial. Seems really fucking stupid of her, but I guess grandstanding was more important.

        1. Since NO judge (or jury, or person that’s still alive) is in any way “impartial”, we’ll see how that goes, but it’s likely true that an appeal will be filed, the sentencing will occur once more, and Nassar will still die in prison.
          The grandstanding prosecutor that charged Cosby based on testimony given after he was told he’d not be prosecuted will likely get him a successful appeal (one cannot testify against themselves, unless they choose to.)

      2. He’s got well over a hundred years to pursue appeals, and she’s given him more than enough grounds.

    2. Or, as someone stated earlier, a television pilot.

    3. Indeed. She gave him plenty of ammunition to appeal his sentence, if not his conviction.

  5. I think too many people watched Oz. The husband of a family friend turned out to have abused their daughter for years. He did several years in prison and wasn’t beaten or raped or anything, even though other inmates knew why he was in.

    He did die painfully of cancer after he got out, though, so that’s good.

    1. I learned everything I need to know about prison from Office Space.

    2. I once served 3 months in jail for marijuana possession. The jail was in upstate New York. My first 3 days, due to lack of space elsewhere, I was housed with the wife/children abusers/rapists. From my experience they keep these dirt-bags out of general pop because, believe it or not, there is kind of an “honor among thieves”. In jail/prison there are some crimes that are just not tolerated.

      1. believe it or not, there is kind of an “honor among thieves”. In jail/prison

        My dad works in the medical field, and he told me once about a case he saw where an infant was brought into the hospital with cigarette burns all over its body. Turned out it was the handy work of the mom’s scumbag boyfriend, who had also worked over pretty badly too.

        The cops actually threw him into general population at the jail, and made sure everyone knew what he was in for. The next night, they had to bring him back to the hospital because the other inmate had beaten the living shit out of him.

        1. It’s pure self-righteousness among prisoners. None of the guilty prisoners is inside for helping little old ladies cross the road, and they justify their offences to themselves by comparing what they did to someone that society deems worse. It is exactly the same on comment threads: albo above here is pleased that someone died of cancer. No, you should not be pleased, albo. That is Schadenfreude, and it demeans you to the level of the person you hate.

  6. “our Constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment. If it did ….”

    Yeah, but it doesn’t, Judge, so you don’t get to be cruel. The Constitution saves you (and us) from yourself. And that’s a good thing.

    1. BEST DOC*MENT EVAH!

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

    I don’t know, but if I was his lawyer….

  8. You are supposed to pay back the victim, not anyone else. That was the point of “an eye for an eye”.

    Justice = repayment to the victim(s).

    The government thinks justice = punishment for disobeying edicts.

    In fact, “cruel and unusual” repayments should be done to the aggressor, for the victim’s benefit, if the aggressor did those same cruel and unusual things to the victim.

    If the victim wants to accept something other than full repayment, that’s up to them. No third party has any say in how much mercy the victim may show.

    1. In a case like this, or pretty much any violent crime, it doesn’t seem like a possibility to fully repay the victim. You can’t unmolest these girls. You can’t unbreak someone’s leg. Subjecting the perpetrator to the same thing that the victim was subjected to does not repay anyone for anything. So I don’t know if I buy your claim that repayment is what “eye for an eye” is about. Sounds like revenge to me. Maybe that’s what a justice system should do. But I’m not convinced.

      1. One thing to do would be to stop printing story after story about how these girls’ lives are effectively ruined. That may occur in some cases, but humans are resilient critters.

        1. Agreed. To say that someone’s life is ruined because they suffered terrible abuse like that is pretty insulting to all the people who have suffered terrible abuse and gone on to live full, happy lives.

          1. Yes, just because father touched the 15 year old altar boy’s pee-pee does not mean the latter’s life is ruined.

      2. You can’t unbreak someone’s leg.

        True.

        Subjecting the perpetrator to the same thing that the victim was subjected to does not repay anyone for anything.

        Actually, that’s exactly what it does. Though that may not be what the victims value (value is relative), that is what repayment would be.

        Let’s say, the thing the victims value the most to be repaid would be money. Well, nothing stops them from demanding that from the aggressor. And, with how many people were victims, this guy might as well be sold into debt slavery and have every penny extracted (given to the victims) from him until he dies from old age.

        Still, that would be closer to “justice” than what the government will ever do. They punish the victims by having them pay for his food/board.

      3. “You can’t unbreak someone’s leg.”

        A cop nearly killed my brother in a traffic wreck. The cop was drunk. His cop buddies colluded to try to cover it up – but the ambulance driver ratted him out and the insurance company settled for limit of liability.

        My brother’s arm was broken in multiple places and his leg so severely shattered that he lost about 1″ in length even after it was reconstructed. To compound matters, the swelling in the arm was so severe it actually cut off circulation and while in the hospital he nearly lost his arm to the failure of the medical staff to PAY FUCKING ATTENTION to what was going on.

        On the payout, my brother said, “I’d give all the money back if I could just get that fucking cop to lay his leg across a stump and let me take 3 or 4 whacks with a baseball bat.”

        There’s something to be said for “an eye for an eye”.

        1. There is NOTHING good to the concept of “an eye for an eye”. It leads to endless bitterness, feuds lasting generations and never a happy life for the victim who has become a perpetrator. I’m an atheist, but far better than the Old Testament’s primitive concept of justice is what Jesus supposedly said about loving one’s enemies and praying for those who persecute you. No good society is built on revenge.

          1. Disagree with this. Although it never should get to the point where anyone loses an eye, if someone treats you with hostility, you need to be aggressive right back. Continuing to treat them with kindness and understanding not only doesn’t make them nicer to you, it actually encourages others to do the same.

            Always initiate encounters with kindness, and always return kindness and consideration with kindness and consideration. But if someone initiates mean or inconsiderate treatment, you should return in kind.

      4. “Eye for an eye” is about letting the punishment fit the crime.

    2. Unfortunately, a victim must file a separate suit to collect damages in most states, even after the offender (whether it be an accident or a crime) is convicted. But the state can surely fine someone and take their car for a drunk driving accident. Because state.

  9. No he should be taken out back and strung up.

    Tie a noose and make it tight;
    A feast for crow come tonight!

  10. Legally and morally no he does not deserve to be raped while in prison. But I’ll be the first to admit that I won’t lose any sleep over it if it does happen.

  11. It does not mean he SHOULD be raped in prison.

    However, if it happens, meh.

  12. “Modern, civil, liberal society has discarded the notion of “an eye for an eye.” Our system is designed to achieve justice, not vengeance”

    Speak for yourself, I’m Calabrese. We eat Sicilians for lunch; not even for dinner.

    1. So th

      1. Before Chipper could finish his comment, Rufus ate him.

  13. Modern, civil, liberal society has discarded the notion of “an eye for an eye.” Our system is designed to achieve justice, not vengeance, which is why we extend due process even to the least sympathetic villains.

    This doesn’t really make sense unless you’re changing the definition of justice to mean mercy. Also, “an eye for an eye” is more about equivalent retribution, not vengeance. Revenge means the victim decides what happens to the perpetrator and it’s based on emotion. Not unlike deciding that the perpetrator should necessarily suffer less than the victim because it makes you feel sad.

    1. Justice means applying a standard of fairness without being overemotional about it.

  14. Modern, civil, liberal society has discarded the notion of “an eye for an eye.” Our system is designed to achieve justice, not vengeance

    Nothing like a “libertarian journalist” booster for the state’s “criminal justice” system. What do Robby’s progressive friends think of his defense of what he himself acknowledges is a thoroughly racist institution?

    1. Isn’t a criminal justice system one thing that most libertarians agree is a proper function of the state?

  15. Nah, I’m perfectly cool with it in this case. If it saves one ordinary decent burglar from being raped, this guy can be the prison bitch for life.

  16. I was kind of surprised at “I’m signing your death warrant.” That wasn’t what she was going at all and to suggest it I thought was pretty unprofessional.

  17. Too bad we don’t live by an “Eye for an Eye”.

  18. “Larry Nassar Sexually Abused More Than 100 Girls. That Doesn’t Mean He Should Be Raped in Prison.”
    Yes, it does.
    Let the punishment fit the crime.
    If he has been proven beyond a doubt to have done these things, he deserves no less be done to him.

    1. If you believe that, then you should be the one to carry out the sentence.

      1. I figure a more “eye for an eye” type sentence would be that whatever he used to “aggress” against the victims are the victims’ to do with as they like. He violated their bodies, so justice would be a “violation” of what he used to violate them.

        So, you use a finger 10 times, then they get to take 10 fingers (if they want). 20 times? All the toes as well. More than that? Cut off an arm or two. Maybe some legs.

        With that being the sentence, there wouldn’t be many rapes, now would there?

        1. Quasi-institutionalized prison rape is part of the problem, not the solution. It is barbaric for a judge to hint that this extra-judicial punishment is appropriate.

          Again, if you believe it is appropriate, you should be willing to personally carry out the sentence.

          1. Sorry, tried to reply to you and ended up posting below. My bad.

          2. you’re really baiting the gay boys, aren’t you?

  19. Quasi-institutionalized prison rape is part of the problem, not the solution

    Actually, prison itself is one of the main problems.

    It is barbaric for a judge to hint that this extra-judicial punishment is appropriate.

    If the Judicial branch isn’t just, then extra-judicial punishment may not be “barbaric” (though, in this case, you’re likely right).

    Again, if you believe it is appropriate, you should be willing to personally carry out the sentence.

    Again, “an eye for an eye” in this case seems more like “cut off the offending part” in this case (if that’s the victims’ wishes). And I’d happily do so!

  20. I understand the temptation of making those who commit egregious crimes suffer likewise. Believe me, I do; I often visualize just that for the criminals who run our country! Just the same, I expect more from ‘leaders’ than from the rank and file. That was highly inappropriate for that judge (pandering to the cameras and channeling her inner Judge Judy) who is supposed to remain dispassionate, or at the very least, professional. She’s far from alone in her actions, but ask yourself: would you want her or her ilk judging you? What if you were innocent, as more and more ‘convicts’ are?

    Moving on, Americans have a huge obsession with anal rape. Gay anal rape! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read “joking” comments, describing in great detail, exactly how that individual American would love to see the offender’s anus and rectum continually violated. Such comments are not limited to sex crimes, either! Usually these are from the more ‘upstanding conservative’ types, who conversely, completely hate gays, but would wish the same thing for them. Perhaps it’s out of some deep underlying yearning to be forcibly violated themselves? I could offer a lengthy list of psychological reasons for some of our fellow citizens’ growing degeneracy, but suffice to say “two wrongs don’t make a right!”

    1. May I edit your quote to end with, “two wongs don’t make a right”?

  21. It seems doubtful that prison gang-rapists will read, debate and consider the relative wisdom of the many literate comments on this page.

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