“Two school pictures floated side-by-side on a projection screen in the Michigan courtroom.
Both images caught the same small girl — in one, all gawky smile and bangs; the next, braces and long hair — a few years apart. Until this week, the child in the snapshots had been officially identified only as “Victim Z.A.” or “a family friend.”
But on Tuesday, Kyle Stephens, now a young woman, stepped out from the curtain of anonymity to directly address disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar before a judge in Lansing.
“I was the first to testify in this case, and worried of the attention that could come of that, I asked for complete anonymity,” Stephens explained, the pictures of her projected over her shoulder stemming from the time of her abuse. “I’m addressing you publicly today as a final step and statement to myself that I have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Stephens was the first of the nearly 100 survivors expected to testify at a four-day sentencing hearing for Nassar this week in state court. In November, the 54-year-old pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree sexual conduct with minors. Nearly 140 other survivors have accused the former Michigan State University faculty member of assault, including Olympic superstars Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas.
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