Larry Nassar now housed in Arizona prison

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Larry Nassar, one of the most notorious and prolific child molesters, has a new name and home.

The high security prison will be the final destination for the former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor, who molested at least 265 women and girls, according to Matt Newburg, one of Nassar’s attorneys.

He is now prisoner #21504-040, and housed in the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona, the Bureau of Prisons website showed Saturday.

The high security prison will be the final destination for the former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor, who molested at least 265 women and girls, according to Matt Newburg, one of Nassar’s attorneys.

His release date: Feb. 23, 2069, if he lives that long. Nassar, 54, will be 105 years old then.

USP Tucson is the nation’s only federal facility that is classified as high security and also has a sex offender management program, according to Ralph Miller, a retired Bureau of Prisons employee who specialized in sex offender designations in the Designation and Sentence Computation Center.

Nassar will be surrounded by 70-80 percent of inmates who are sex offenders in the Tuscon population of 1,500, Miller said.

Anyone with a prison sentence exceeding 30 years gets assigned to a high-security facility, so Nassar’s 60-year sentence for child porn possession made him a high-security inmate, Miller said. While there are eight other federal prisons with sex offender management programs, those are located in medium and low-level security facilities.

Nassar would be assigned to the Tuscon facility because he said that’s where Nassar can be in a safe environment without being in protective custody, which is essentially solitary confinement.

The USP Tucson is a high security U.S. penitentiary with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp. It’s also Larry Nassar’s new home.

“There’s safety in numbers,” said Miller, now a consultant with “He may not be safe there, but it is the safest facility.”

Larry Nassar will be processed through Milan, a low-security prison in Washtenaw County, and then transferred to another facility.

Among the most notable inmate in the Tuscon penitentiary is Brian David Mitchell, who is serving a life sentence for the 2002 abduction of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart.

Prison rules require Nassar to make his bed daily, keep his cell clean and not display any sexually provocative photos on his locker or cabinet, according to the Tuscon penitentiary handbook.

He will be required to wake up at 6 a.m. for meals and work. The uniform is normally khaki pants and a khaki shirt.

In his free time, Nassar can communicate with his family and friends via the prison’s public messaging, a version of email that does not allow attachments. He will also get a phone access code and have access to correspondence classes and continuing education, according to the prison handbook.

Though dozens of sex offenders are processed by the Bureau of Prisons daily, Miller said it’s rare to see someone who has been featured almost daily in the news for months, so everyone will know who Nassar is no matter where he ends up. Since inmates look down on sex offenders and those who cooperate with the government, federal prison designators may take longer to process him to find the best place for Nassar’s safety.

“It’s not very often you see a case with this much media attention,” said Miller. “I am sure this going to be a difficult case for the Bureau of Prisons.”

Nassar’s criminal proceedings ended Monday in Eaton County, and the federal prison website showed he was being held in the federal prison in Milan, the only federal prison in Michigan.

Miller was surprised Saturday to hear Nassar had already been assigned to the Tuscon penitentiary, but he suspected that the process of his federal prison assignment began in December, when U.S. District Judge Janet Neff sentenced Nassar to 60 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to possessing 37,000 images of child pornography.

Nassar is serving his federal sentence concurrently with two other sentences that judges gave him in state court for criminal sexual conduct, to which he also pleaded guilty. Officials say they have identified at least 265 assault victims of Nassar.

On Monday, Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham handed him a 40-125 year sentence for three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Two weeks earlier, Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina gave Nassar a 40-175 year sentence for seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

For more than two decades, Nassar sexually assaulted young girls — mostly athletes including numerous gymnasts — under the guise of a medical treatment.

Sentencing hearings were held before Aquilina and Cunningham over nine days in two courtrooms, which prompted 204 young women to confront Nassar and share how the abuse impacted their lives.

All testified that he had a pattern in his abuse: He inserted his fingers into their vaginas, and sometimes their anuses, without gloves, lubricant or consent. He also touched some of their breasts and showed signs of sexual arousal during these “treatments” that were suppose to help the young girls’ back, ankle and other pains. In some cases, their parents were in the room.