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Father of Sex Abuse Victims Tries to Attack Larry Nassar in Court

02 February, 2018

A father of three sexual abuse victims tried to attack the former Olympic and Michigan State University doctor found guilty of the sex crimes.

The incident took place Friday in a courtroom in Michigan during the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar.

The father was identified as Randall Margraves. Two of his daughters, Lauren and Madison Margraves, had just given their their victim impact statements with their parents by their side. The women said that they and another sister were abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment.

After their statements, the father looked at Nassar, shook his head and addressed the court. He called Nassar a profane name. Judge Janice K. Cunningham told the man not to use profanity.

Margraves then asked if Cunningham would give him "five minutes" alone with Nassar in a locked room. When she said she could not, he asked for one minute, and added that he was a distraught father.

He then ran toward Nassar, who was sitting nearby. Courtroom police stopped Margraves before he reached Nassar. They held Margraves on the ground and put him in handcuffs.

Eaton County sheriffs restrain Randall Margraves after he lunged at Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during victim statements of his sentencing in the Eaton County Circuit Cou
Eaton County sheriffs restrain Randall Margraves after he lunged at Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during victim statements of his sentencing in the Eaton County Circuit Cou

As police walked Margraves out of court, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis advised families in the courtroom to "use your words," not violence.

"This is letting him have this power over us," Povilaitis said. "We cannot behave like this. I understand this is a remarkable situation. But you cannot do this."

Margraves responded, "You haven't lived through it, lady."

Later Friday, Margraves returned to the courtroom, still in handcuffs. He apologized to the judge for losing control. The judge said there was "no way" she would punish Margraves for contempt of court.

Cunningham told Margraves it was in her power to order a jail sentence, fine him thousands of dollars, or both. But, she said, "I don't want to do that."

She told Margraves, "I understand. Well, actually, I don't. I'm a parent. I can't say that I understand. I don't know what it would be like to stand there as a father and know that three of your girls were injured physically and emotionally by someone sitting in a courtroom. I can't fathom that."

Cunningham also urged Margraves and others in the courtroom to respect the rule of law.

The incident took place during the third and final sentencing hearing for Nassar. The charges in this case center on his work at Twistars, a well-known gymnastics club in Michigan.

Following a similar hearing that ended last week, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in jail. More than 150 women and girls gave impact statements during sentencing.

Among them were U.S. Olympic gymnasts, including 2012 gold medalists Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber.

Late last year, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in jail for possession of child pornography.

Nassar, 54, worked with USA Gymnastics for more than 20 years and traveled to four Olympic Games as the team doctor. He was also a longtime doctor at Michigan State University. Both MSU and USA Gymnastics have faced strong criticism for what some call enabling Nassar's abuse for years.

More than 250 women and girls have said Nassar abused them.

I'm Ashley Thompson.

The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

guise - n. one of several or many different ways in which something is seen, experienced, or produced

impact - v. to have a strong and often bad effect on (something or someone):

profane - adj. having or showing disrespect for religious things

distraught - adj. very upset : so upset that you are not able to think clearly or behave normally

handcuffs - n. a set of two metal rings that are joined together and locked around a person's wrists

remarkable - adj. unusual or surprising

contempt of court - n. speech or behavior that does not show proper respect to a court or judge

fathom - v. to understand the reason for (something)