The sentencing of disgraced former doctor and confessed child molester Larry Nassar took a violent turn on Friday when the father of three of his victims attempted to take the law into his own hands. It all began when Randall Margraves, a self-described “distraught father,” began cursing at Nassar, reports KXLY News. The father’s angry tirade against his daughters’ abuser was cut short by presiding Judge Janice Cunningham, who made it clear that such outbursts would not be tolerated in her Eaton County, Michigan, courtroom.
Margraves responded by asking Cunningham for time alone with Larry Nassar, whom he referred to as “this demon.” The judge refused to honor the furious father’s request, advising him that the U.S. legal system doesn’t work that way.
“I would ask you, as part of the sentencing, to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon. Would you give me one minute?”
In response, Randall Margraves exclaimed that he was “going to have to,” and ran toward Larry Nassar in an attempted physical attack. Before he was able to reach the ex-doctor, however, Margraves was detained by courtroom security who wrestled him to the ground before cuffing him and escorting him from the packed courtroom.
While he was being held by courtroom security officers, Margraves continued to demand time with Nassar in an effort to obtain his own brand of justice for his daughters. The outburst and subsequent attack came just after Randall Margraves’ daughters addressed the court with their own emotionally crushing stories of abuse at the hands of the trusted gymnastics doctor.
“I want that son of a b***h! Give me one minute with that bastard…What if this happened to you guys?”
After being removed from the courtroom, Margraves was held by the Eaton County Sheriff’s officer to answer to possible contempt charges. When he returned to face the judge, however, Randall Margraves was not charged with contempt of court for disrupting the Larry Nassar sentencing proceedings. Indeed, the angry, but apologetic father will not be facing legal repercussions for his thwarted attack on the man who molested his daughters and so many other girls who had been entrusted to his care.
During Friday’s lunch break, Margraves was escorted back into the courtroom in handcuffs. It was then that he apologized for losing control, explaining that he hadn’t heard his daughters’ statements in advance and because he watched Larry Nassar on the stand shaking his head while his daughters spoke of their abuse “like it didn’t happen.”
“I lost control. I apologize a hundred times. I’m definitely calmed down. I’m embarrassed. I’m not here to upstage my daughters. I’m here to help them heal.”
Judge Cunningham responded to Margraves’ apology by announcing that she would be releasing the distraught father, that there was “no way” she’d hit him with a fine or punishment “given the circumstances of the case.” She did, however, make it clear that his behavior was unacceptable and that vigilante justice would not be tolerated.
“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.”
While the judge in the case was clear that Margraves’ brand of “justice” would not be tolerated in hers or any other courtroom, social media has responded to the news of his attempted attack on Larry Nassar largely by branding him a hero.
Randall Margraves’ daughters are just three of hundreds of young women who claim Larry Nassar sexually abused and assaulted them over the course of the last 20 years. In the last two weeks, roughly 200 women have given statements detailing the abuse they allegedly endured in two separate courtrooms. As CNN reports, Nassar, previously the doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison in January after pleading guilty to 10 criminal sexual conduct charges in Eaton and Ingham county, Michigan.
Larry Nassar further admitted that he used and abused his position of trust to sexually abuse the gymnasts in his care, molesting gymnasts who ranged in age from underage girls to young women when he was supposed to be providing them with medical care. As Independent reports, 265 former patients have come forward with claims that they were abused by Nassar.