No, Judge Aquilina Wasn’t “Mean” Sentencing Larry Nassar
25 Jan 2018
If you find it preposterous that a sitting female Judge is getting backlash for making a speech admonishing serial pedophile “Dr.” Larry Nassar while sentencing him, join the club. Have any of the guys on social media who called Judge Rosemarie Aquilina “mean” for telling Nassar off ever heard a male Judge speechify from the bench? Ever been in a courtroom? It would be odd if the Judge didn’t make harsh remarks in such a horrifying and sensational case as this. Let me translate for those men accusing Judge Aquilina of being “mean”: “You’re a female and somehow, somewhere, I feel you are criticizing me.”
Guy, did you commit Nasser’s horrific crimes? No? Did you commit any crime? No? Are you Larry Nassar? No? Then she’s not talking to you.
Once a world-renowned sports physician treating America’s foremost Olympic women gymnasts, Larry Nassar now will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison, a judge announced Wednesday, after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades.
“I’ve just signed your death warrant,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said in a Lansing, Michigan, courtroom. “I find that you don’t get it, that you’re a danger. That you remain a danger.”
Nassar, under color of authority and a medical license, sexually assaulted more than 150 women and young girls – that we know of. What Judge with any decency would not 1) throw the book at him and 2) let him have it verbally. We have heard male judges lecture and admonish defendants for far less. Where is the backlash against “their conduct”?
IndyStar quotes Graeme Wood of The Atlantic:
“The dignity of the proceedings was diminished by a few words, though, that the judge offered by way of regret. If the U.S. Constitution didn’t forbid cruel and unusual punishment, she said, she ‘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.’ Subjecting Nassar to a lifetime of rape is not my idea of justice, and fantasizing about it is not my idea of judicial temperament.”
While this particular comment may have been outside “ideal judicial temperament” – in this case of the most prolific serial pedophile ever sentenced (he has also received a 60-year sentence for Federal child pornography charges), let’s be sure we are not leveling the criticism because it was a woman who made the remarks. Are you telling me those writing article after article critiquing her “crossing the line” wouldn’t be more understanding of a male Judge reacting similarly to the depraved nature of this “doctor’s” offenses. And why don’t we worry more about Nassar’s victims, many of whom were no more than children? What about the damage he did to all of them?
What about the institutions that turned a blind eye to his criminal behavior for two decades? Let’s save our rage for them.
Quite frankly, if Judge Aquilina gave Nassar’s victims a voice and threw the fear of God into prospective predators – I’m having a tough time as seeing that as a bad thing. That may not feel “fair”, but I can’t help but have the feeling that the backlash leveled at Judge Aquilina’s comments were more a reaction to a woman “signing [a man’s] death warrant.”