On Jan. 24, former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison after decades of sexually abusing girls under the guise of medical treatment. Presiding over the courtroom was Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who became an overnight internet sensation for simultaneously bashing Nassar for his disturbing actions while also providing an encouraging platform for victims to voice their stories.
Before reading his fate aloud to the courtroom – which she dubbed his “death warrant” – Aquilina invited more than 150 women and girls to share their personal testimonies, and offered up words of support to each one. When Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault, read her testimony, Aquilina told her, “You started the tidal wave. You made all of this happen. You made all of these voices matter. Your sister survivors and I thank you. You are the bravest person I have ever had in my courtroom.”
At one point, Aquilina read Nassar’s six-page letter about how difficult it was for him to listen to his victims’ testimonies, and she sassily tossed it aside with a meme-worthy, mic-drop-like flick of the wrist. The cherry on top of the entire trial was when she delivered the be-all and end-all of criminal verdicts: “As much as it was my honor and privilege to hear the sister survivors, it is my honor and privilege to sentence you,” Aquilina said bluntly, “Because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again.”
– CBS News (@CBSNews) January 24, 2018
Below is just a small collection of tweets rightfully praising Aquilina’s unabashed badassery (yes, we’re making that a word just for her). If you’re looking for a new patriarchy-smashing icon, we think she just might fit the bill. Watch out Judge Judy – there’s a new judge in town.