Larry Nassar has pleaded guilty to abusing ten girls since his trial began, but is accused by over 250 more. Over the course of these past few months, Nassar has heard numerous accounts of sexual assault from U.S. gymnasts from those who were simply seeking treatment for an injury, to those who competed in the Olympic Games, such as Aly Raisman. He has been forced to hear these women speak their truths about what he did to them and their families. But, on Friday, a father spoke up and addressed Nassar in a way that had the internet calling him a “hero.”
Randall Margraves is the father of three girls, all of whom were abused by Nassar. On Friday morning, Madison and Lauren were reading their impact statements aloud in a Michigan courtroom while their father stood by their side. As they finished, Margraves stepped up and said to Judge Janice Cunningham, “I would ask you to, as part of the sentencing, to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon. Would you do that? Would you give me one minute?”
In response, Cunningham had assured Margraves that he knew she could not grant his request. Following this response, Margraves lunged toward Nassar, sitting only a few feet away. Officers immediately tackled Margraves to the ground before he had a chance to reach Nassar or injure him in any way. Margraves was escorted out of the courtroom by several officers in handcuffs.
After this incident, when court was back in session, Cunningham called it a “quick eruption of violence” and said to the courtroom, “I know it is hard, but I need to ask all of you to try and not react in a physical way. It is not appropriate, it does not send the right message.” She finished by saying, “It actually just causes more pain and more discomfort and certainly we have enough of that in this courtroom as a result of the defendant’s actions.”
Cunningham also said that there would be no charges pressed against Margraves as a result of his attempted attack.
As news of this incident spread, users on Twitter claimed Margraves as their hero and even set up fundraising pages in his honor. Parents praised him and spoke up about the fact that Margraves did what all fathers were thinking.
Margraves returned to the courtroom with an apology and a statement in which he said, “I’m not here to upstage my daughters, I’m here to help them heal.” He had not heard his daughters’ statements in advance to Friday morning.