Randall Margraves holds a press conference to explain his attempted attack on Larry Nassar. Rod Sanford, Special to The Detroit News
Charlotte — The father of three gymnasts who were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar said Friday he regrets lunging at the sports doctor in court but added that he hopes the convicted pedophile ends up in one of the “hottest pits in hell.”
Randall Margraves discussed the incident at a news conference hours after being tackled and hauled out of Eaton County Circuit Court for trying to attack Nassar. He said he was driven to rage by hearing two of his daughters graphically describe in court Friday how Nassar hurt them and seeing the disgraced physician shaking his head.
“When I hear those statements and I have to look over at Larry Nassar, that was too much,” he said.
But Margraves added, “This cannot be a lawless society. I lost control. But I regained control in a holding cell.”
Judge Janice K. Cunningham decided not to fine or jail Margraves, who apologized in court for his action.
“I’m embarrassed,” he told the judge. “I’m not here to upstage my daughters. I’m here to help them heal.”
The judge, in turn, told Margraves: “My heart goes out to you and your family for what you’ve been through. We cannot and I cannot tolerate or condone vigilantism or any other type of action that basically comes down to an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. That’s not what’s best for this situation.”
“There’s no way that this court is going to issue any type of punishment, given the circumstances of this case,” she said.
Margraves’ charge at Nassar came on the last day of a hearing before a judge will hand him another prison sentence for sexually assaulting young women under the guise of a medical treatment. Before he testified, about 200 others spoke over nine days in Eaton and Ingham county courts. None tried to physically attack Nassar.
Margraves went after Nassar after asking the judge as part of the sentencing to let him have a five minutes alone in a locked room with the former USA Gymnastics doctor. When the judge said no, he asked for one minute alone with Nassar, and then lunged at him. Chaos erupted in the courtroom.
The man was tackled to the ground by police. “Let me at him,” he shouted as police grabbed him. “Give me one minute with that bastard.”
Police led him out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
At the news conference, Margraves said he feels regret for sending his daughters to see Nassar.
“I fell for the Michigan State hype. I was blinded by the fancy degrees hanging on a wall,” he said, adding that he “delivered my daughters to a demon” and “now I have to live with the fact that I failed to protect my daughters.”
For a long time, he said, he didn’t understand why his relationship with his daughters was strained.
“The reason was Larry Nassar,” he said. “If it wasn’t for all the brave girls and women who came forward before now, I don’t know if my family could have come forward before now.”
Margraves also expressed his hope that Nassar will face divine justice.
“I believe in God almighty. I believe in heaven and hell. And I can only hope when the days comes ... that he will be escorted to one of the deepest, darkest, hottest pits in hell there is for people like him.”
Margraves’ outburst occurred after two of his daughters, Lauren and Madison, gave graphic statements about what Nassar did to them, and the impact his sexual abuse had on their lives. A third daughter, Morgan, gave a statement recently in Ingham County Circuit Court.
Margraves didn’t know the specifics of what Nassar had done to his daughters, so he learned about it in court on Friday, said David Mittleman, an attorney representing the family.
Among the details that Madison Margraves told Cunningham was how one of her parents was always in the room during her appointments.
One time, she said Nassar asked her to change into baggy shorts that he provided, then accidentally “touched me in a place where no man has any business being without permission.”
Two years after her first appointment with him, he suggested acupuncture for her back pain.
Madison Margraves said he would put the needles on her vagina with no coverage, no gloves, with her underwear and pants down to her thighs.
“My entire vagina was completely exposed to him,” Margraves said.
A GoFundMe account set up to show support for Randall Margraves had raised nearly $20,000 on Friday.
His attorney, Mick Grewal, said he does not know who set up the page, but asked whoever did to take it down and return the money because the family does not need it and did not request it.
Cunningham said she heard from Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis that Randall Margraves had learned details about the assaults that he had not known before.
“I can see that creating an anger and a rage so great that any parent would want to do physical harm,” Cunningham said. “So I understand that. But you have to understand this is a courtroom … it is not acceptable that we combat assault with assault. We have to teach our children and other adults that when people do things that are wrong and they break the law, we handle that by using the legal proceedings to punish them.”
Cunningham made him promise that nothing else would happen in court.
Margraves said he came to the hearing to support his daughters but did not know what they would say because they did not let him see their statements beforehand.
“I am realizing (my daughters) may never trust a man again,” Margraves said.
Friday was the second and last day of a second sentencing hearing for Nassar, who preyed on young women for decades by inserting his fingers inside of them, sometimes with their parents in the room. . So far, 265 women have been identified as victims.
Margraves jumped at Nassar after his other daughter, Lauren Margraves, said that the “last year and a half of my life has been a crazy whirlwind and there’s no reason it should have been that way.”
She said he molested her when she was 13.
Nassar was sentenced last month to 40-175 years in prison on seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County Circuit Court. He also has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for possession of child pornography.
Staff Writer Charles E. Ramirez contributed.