Dad who lunged at Nassar won't face charges

Kim Kozlowski, and Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Charlotte —  The father of three women 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 describe in court Friday how Nassar hurt them and seeing the disgraced physician shaking his head.

Eaton County Sheriff's deputies restrain Randall Margraves, father of three victims of Larry Nassar, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Mich.

“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."

Victim says Nassar ‘turned my entire universe upside down’

"There's no way that this court is going to issue any type of punishment, given the circumstances of this case," she said.

Margraves tried to attack Nassar after asking the judge to let him have a few minutes alone with the former USA Gymnastics doctor.

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 Friday after two of his daughters gave victim statements about the impact Nassar’s sexual abuse had on their lives. A third daughter gave a statement recently in Ingham County Circuit Court.

A gofundme account set up to show support for Margraves had raised more than $7,500 within hours of the incident.

Cunningham said she heard from Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis that 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 day of the second sentencing hearing for Nassar, who sexually abused young women under the guise of a medical treatment. So far, 265 women have been identified as victims.

Margraves jumped at Nassar after his daughter Lauren Margraves, one of the sexual assault victims, had just finished telling the court 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."

Lauren Margraves made the comments during the latest sentencing hearing in Eaton County Circuit Court after recounting her abuse at Nassar's hands.

She said he molested her when she was 13. Nassar also abused her two sisters.

The father of victim 210, a woman who chose to stay anonymous, spoke after the Margraves incident.

Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis said he was a peaceful man and would not repeat Margraves' behavior.

During a break, he empathized with the family.

“I felt bad for him, for his family and especially for his daughters because of all they are going through,” the father said. “But I understand.”

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