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Where Nassar’s Judge Went Wrong

[theatlantic.com]

In 2001, I went to Xipamanine market, a huge open-air bazaar in Maputo, Mozambique, where you can buy everything from clothes to traditional medicine. A Mozambican friend told me how to keep safe from pickpockets. “If someone takes something from you, yell Ladrão! Ladrão!”—Thief! Thief!—“and point to him.”

“What happens next?” I asked.

“People will grab him,” she said, “and possibly beat him to death.” She said the ultimate punishment was reserved for habitual thieves, and that the hardware section would be especially dangerous for them, because so many heavy objects were available.

I was learning Portuguese at the time. Ladrão is the only word in any language that I have ever wished I could unlearn. If a thief scampered away with my passport, my camera, and all my money, would I be able to resist yelling it out? I couldn’t be sure, but I knew I would regret it immediately, and possibly for the rest of my life, if I did yell ladrão, and knew there was a possibility of brutal punishment being carried out in my name.

I thought of this incident Wednesday when Rosemarie Aquilina, the judge in the case of serial sexual assailant ______, delivered the disgraced U.S. Olympic doctor what she called his “death warrant,” after a week of extraordinary testimony by his victims. _______begged the judge earlier this week to be spared having to hear all his victims speak. Judge Aquilina observed that a few days of emotional discomfort for _______would barely begin to even the score between him and the over-150 women he molested. She sentenced him to a prison term that will probably consume the rest of his life.

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.”

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  1. Fedup

    If only there was a registry to prevent this guy from commiting these crimes!! 😭

  2. SCOTUS SAVE US NOW

    Larry Nassar is a predator. He didn’t do this once or twice, or in moment of weakness, or a momentary lapse of judgement. This was planned, and repeated, over and over. He should of received a life sentence and that should be the end of it – essentially 175 years is that. However, (Please pause for unpopular opinion), our country was not founded on vengeance. Torture as a punishment is specifically outlawed regardless of the crime committed. Larry Nassar legally only plead guilty to assaulting 7 woman in this case. I am not sure having him sit through every woman who accused him, ripping into him, doesn’t fall under cruel and unusual. If the judge had allowed the 7 woman to make statements, or allowed them all to make statements until Larry Nassar wrote a letter saying he could not listen to it any more, and then allowed him to sit outside the courtroom in a cell while the rest finished, I think she would of been in her right. Furthermore, a judge is there to follow the law. The law has sentencing guidelines, and while the length of his sentence is essentially a life sentence, I do not believe the statement “I Just Signed Your Death Warrant” was appropriate from an impartial jurist. The judge was very clearly a “fierce advocate for the women” which as a human I can understand, as a jurist I find it improper.

    On that note, I hope he never sees the light of day again.

    • Sam

      I just saw this on the news here(outside the US) … Some of the girls who talked looked they just hopped on the bandwagon to get on TV. Not saying he didn’t do all the shirts he did but I think some of them were kind of milking it so the camera stayed longer

    • Tim Moore

      Yes, never seeing the light of day is what happens correctly after sentencing. Being shamed and humiliated as a punishment before then as a part of the court process is something that harkens back to medieval times, and is looking perverse in its own right.

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