GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A former elite sports doctor whose sexual assault cases have rocked Michigan State University and the group that trains U.S. Olympic gymnasts was sentenced Thursday to 60 years in federal prison for possessing thousands of images of child pornography.

It’s the first of three prison sentences for Larry Nassar, who will learn his punishment in state court in January after pleading guilty to using his hands to molest girls at his campus office, his home and at a gymnastics club near Lansing, Michigan, sometimes with parents in the room.

McKayla Maroney, a member of the 2012 gold medal Olympic team, attended the court hearing after describing Nassar as a “monster” in a letter to U.S. District Judge Janet Neff. She and Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas say they are among his assault victims.

Nassar said he has an addiction.

“You go back and you wonder how I got down this path to begin with,” he told the judge. “I really did try to be a good person. … I hope one day I can be forgiven, and I’m going to take every day of your sentence to try to better myself.”

Neff followed the government’s recommended sentence, saying Nassar “should never again have access to children.”

She said the federal sentence won’t start until he completes his sentences for assault, which effectively means the 54-year-old won’t be free again. Nassar faces at least 25 years in prison in the other cases.

“He’s devastated, obviously,” defense attorney Matthew Newburg said outside court.