Chicago, United States - The number of identified sexual abuse victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has grown to 265, a Michigan judge announced Wednesday as a final sentencing hearing commenced.
Prosecutors said at least 65 victims were to confront Nassar in court, in the last of three sentencing hearings for the disgraced doctor who molested young girls and women for two decades in the guise of medical treatment.
"We have over 265 identified victims and an infinite number of victims in the state, in the country, and all over the world," Judge Janice Cunningham said. "As a result, by allowing live streaming and tweeting, all individuals are able to participate in this process."
The small courtroom in Charlotte, Michigan filled up early in the morning, long before Nassar was brought into court for what was expected to be days of hearings.
The first to speak was Jessica Thomashow, 17, who had also testified at marathon hearings earlier this month at Nassar's sentencing in a separate case. She said she was first molested at the age of nine.
"Larry Nassar is evil," she said. "Larry Nassar is a criminal of the worst kind."
Thomashow, who was previously identified in official charges as Victim A, chose to go public with her story, and asked the judge to impose the maximum allowable sentence.
Under a plea agreement, Nassar could be sentenced to a minimum 25 to 40 years in prison.
"The court will make a determination of what that will be at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing," Cunningham said.
On January 24, the 54-year-old was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for abusing girls at his Michigan State University (MSU) clinic.
More than 150 women testified over an emotionally-charged seven days of sentencing hearings that gripped the nation and spurred resignations and further investigations.
Nassar also has been sentenced to 60 years in prison by a federal court for possession of child pornography.
For the latest and final hearing, Nassar is to be sentenced on three charges of abuse that took place at the Twistars gymnastics training facility.
Nassar's victims have offered powerful personal accounts of the pain he caused them, and searing accusations against officials in amateur athletics and at the university, asking why nothing was done sooner to stop him.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered an investigation into survivors' allegations that they were assaulted by Nassar at the Karolyi Ranch -- until recently the training ground for America's top gymnasts.
Under pressure, USA Gymnastics severed ties with the ranch earlier this month.
On Capitol Hill, US lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bipartisan bill mandating reporting of all sexual assault allegations in amateur sports.
The US Olympic Committee, MSU and USA Gymnastics are all facing various investigations.
Nassar also has been sentenced to 60 years in prison by a federal court for possession of child pornography.AFP