The victims of Dr. Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who was convicted of sexual abuse of athletes and gymnasts under his care, bravely confronted him during his sentencing on Tuesday.
Among those speaking out was Jennifer Rood Bedford, a former volleyball player at Michigan State who got emotional as she shared her horrific experience. But in addition to her heartbreaking testimony, she also offered Nassar forgiveness.
“I believe that what you have done — those choices you made — is not who God intended for you to be when he chose to bring you into this world,” Bedford said directly to Nassar’s face. “You can choose to be a better man, and to be a different person.”
Watch Bedford’s stirring words around the 2:40-mark:
And Bedford wasn’t done there; she also told the former doctor that she prays for him, according to Kate Wells from Michigan Radio.
“Please know my forgiveness toward you is sincere,” she said. “Especially in the light … of the forgiveness that’s been granted to me, that I should be called a child of God.”
During her testimony, Bedford described what happened to her and dove deep into the complex emotions that resulted from the abuse she says she sustained at the hands of Nassar.
Bedford tells Nassar she prays for him. "Please know my forgiveness toward you is sincere. Especially in the light…of the forgiveness that's been granted to me, that I should be called a child of God… What you've done…is not who God intended you to be."
— Kate Wells (@KateLouiseWells) January 16, 2018
“I remember laying there wondering, ‘Is this OK? This doesn’t seem right. What’s happening?’ I didn’t know what to do,” Bedford said.
She recounted the struggles she faced after her encounter with Nassar, as various thoughts raced through her head. Bedford was afraid to tell anyone what had happened, as she wasn’t sure they would believe her.
Her testimony left others in the courtroom crying as well.
“Everyone trusted him. I told myself I needed to trust him too,” Bedford said. “So, I convinced myself it was just a normal part of the procedure and kept my mouth shut.”
She continued, “I wanted to believe the best of people but no matter how I rationalized he’s a doctor he’s trying to help me … I couldn’t shake the voice in my head that said something wasn’t right.”
Bedford’s testimony unfolded on the first day of a four-day sentencing hearing.