Father of Larry Nassar victims attempts to attack disgraced doctor at hearing
- Randall Margraves asked for ‘five minutes alone’ with sexual abuser
- Nassar already sentenced to up to 175 years in jail at separate hearing
The judge in the gymnastics sexual abuse case said on Friday there is “no way” she will punish the father of three girls who were his victims, after the man tried to attack the former US gymnastics team doctor in court on Friday.
Randall Margrave, the father of three daughters sexually abused by disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar, was nevertheless told by the judge that his actions were wrong, and Margrave apologized at Nassar’s sentencing hearing in Michigan.
On Friday morning, after two of Margraves’ daughters had just given evidence, the father asked Judge Janice Cunningham for time alone with the former doctor.
“I would ask you as part of the sentencing to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon,” said Margraves, who has a third daughter said also to have been abused while under Nassar’s care.
When the judge declined, Margraves shook his head at Nassar and called him a “son of a bitch”. As some in the courtroom laughed, the judge warned Margraves about his language. He then lunged at the doctor.
Bailiffs quickly wrestled Margraves to the ground, knocking objects off a desk in the struggle. Nassar was subsequently led out the room, while crying was heard in the courtroom.
As officers removed Margraves, he repeatedly demanded “one minute!” and asked: “What if this happened to you guys?”
A few hours later, Margraves apologized for his behavior. Cunningham then responded that there was “no way” she would punish him for his rush on Nassar.
She added that a punishment isn’t appropriate based on the crimes committed by Nassar and the anguish felt by families. But she also told those attending it is wrong to “combat assault with assault”.
Nassar had already been sentenced to up to 175 years in jail at a separate hearing last week, and to 60 years for possession of child abuse images in 2017. This week’s hearing focused on Nassar’s conduct at the Twistars gymnastics club in Michigan.
More than 30 victims have given statements so far. During the hearing which ended last week, more than 150 girls and women came forward to say Nassar abused them under the guise of medical treatment.
On Friday, a doctor who specializes in gynecology told the court that Nassar molested her at age 11 at a camp for elite gymnasts.
Brittney Schumann said she had chosen to identify herself because she couldn’t be an advocate for women’s health by staying anonymous. She told Nassar, a former sports doctor, that he was a “disgrace” to the medical profession.
After Margraves was removed, the lead prosecutor, Angela Povilaitis, told the public gallery: “I understand Mr Margraves’ frustration, but you cannot do this.” She urged families to “use your words”.
“This is letting him have this power over us,” she 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.”
The judge said that although she could not imagine Margraves’ pain, “we cannot react by using physical violence”.
Margraves later apologized, telling the judge, “I lost control. I apologize 100 times.”
On Thursday, one of Nassar’s attorneys, Shannon Smith, cast doubt on the number of athletes her client is alleged to have abused. Cunningham opened Friday’s session by describing Smith’s comments as “unfortunate”.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
Trump Says He’ll Make a ‘Major Announcement’ Saturday Afternoon About Shutdown, Border
Trump Administration Separated Thousands More Migrants Than Previously Known
The Trump Administration separated thousands more migrant kids from their families at the border than it previously acknowledged, and the separations started months before the policy was announced, according to a federal audit released Thursday morning.
“More children over a longer period of time” were separated at the border than commonly known, an investigator with the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general’s office told reporters Thursday morning.
“How many more children were separated is unknown, by us and HHS” because of failures to track families as they were being separated, he said.
HHS officials involved in caring for the separated children and reunifying families estimated “thousands” of additional children are separated at the border, the inspector general said.
The report sheds new light on the Trump administration’s efforts to deter border crossings by separating migrant families. House Democrats who’ve condemned the separations as inhumane have vowed to investigate the administration’s handling of the policy and its health effects on separated children, and the inspector general said additional investigations are in the works.
The inspector general report said some family separations continued, even after President Donald Trump in June 2018 ended the policy amid uproar and a federal court ordered his administration to reunify the families. The June 2018 court order called on the administration to reunify about 2,500 separated children in government custody. Most of those families were reunited within 30 days.
However, HHS received at least 118 separated children between July and early November, according to the report. DHS provided “limited” information about the reason for those separations. In slightly more than half of those cases, border officials cited the parent’s criminal history as a reason to separate the families, although they did not always provide details. The court order requiring reunifications said family separations should only occur if border officials could specify when parents posed possible dangers to children or were otherwise unfit to care for them, the inspector general noted.
Federal investigators said they had no details about how many of the “thousands of separated children” who entered the care of HHS before the June 2018 court order had been reunited.
“We have no information about the status of the children who were released prior to the court order,” Maxwell told reporters. [POLITICO]
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