LANSING, Mich. (CN) - They had much in common, arriving in admired physician Larry Nassar’s office for back, hip and hamstring injuries. They were dancers, rowers, gymnasts, volleyball players and Olympians with their lives stretching out in front of them. They wanted to be the best. They came to him because doctors and coaches said he could work miracles.
The gentle and nerdy looking doctor with neat, close-cropped dark hair, glasses and a sloping expression was entirely unremarkable to look at but he was a guru to scores of children and teens.
He was their confidant, befriending them on social media, smuggling junk food and candy to their rooms beneath the noses of unforgiving coaches, and sending them letters, gifts and memorabilia from the Olympic Games.
His warmth and easy charisma were part of a well-practiced routine designed to gain their trust. In Nassar's examination room, at training camps, in his basement, at their homes and at the Olympic Games, he would molest girls beneath a deceptive cloud of treatment, convincing the girls under his care that his lubricated fingers were somehow part of the healing process.
On Wednesday, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina put an end to a week of wrenching victim-impact statements to sentence Nassar, 54, to 40 to 175 years in state prison.
“I just signed your death warrant,” the judge said after handing down the sentence.
Before the sentence was announced, Nassar told his victims in the courtroom, some of whom sobbed loudly as he spoke, that he would “carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
"Your words these past several days have had a significant emotional effect on myself and have shaken me to my core," Nassar said. "What I am feeling pales in comparison to the pain and emotional trauma that you have all endured."
Judge Aquilina said what he had done was not medical treatment, as he asserted in a letter that the judge read in open court.
"There is no medical evidence that was ever brought," she said. "You did this for your pleasure and control."
Nassar’s letter contrasted sharply with his prepared statement. He wrote that he had been treated unfairly in his federal child pornography case and that he was a “good doctor.” In an attack on his victims, he wrote that the same patients that had praised his treatment and returned to him time and time again were now speaking out against him.
“‘Hell hath have no fury like a woman scorned,’” the judge read to audible gasps from the courtroom.
After she had finished reading the letter, Aquilina tossed it aside like it was piece of trash. She almost dared Nassar to withdraw his plea and asked him if he was guilty.
After a long pause, Nassar replied: “I accept my plea.”
Aquilina called him “manipulative, devious” and “despicable.”
“I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir,” the judge added.
The sentence of 40-plus years comes after Nassar pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct last November. Two victims were under 16 when the abuse happened and another was under 13. He has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 160 women.