Former Charlotte doctor Kassem Hallak sat stone-faced in an Eaton County courtroom Wednesday as a judge handed him the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for criminal sexual misconduct.
Hallak was found guilty in late June on eight of 11 counts of sexual misconduct after 11 women came forward accusing him of touching them inappropriately while they were in his examination room.
The incidents occurred between 2002 and 2010 primarily at the Charlotte Medical Center and Urgent Care facility.
Hallak's medical license was suspended in 2011 after the first allegations surfaced.
Before the sentencing victims were given the opportunity to make one last comment before the courtroom, with one woman offering a tearful and emotional statement.
"I am a victim... of the disgusting, selfish, and sexually deviant crimes that Mr. Kassem Hallak has been accused, tried, and convicted of," she said. "This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and has affected the way I trust doctors and people overall."
Kelly Morton, the Eaton County prosecuting attorney said the sentencing allows the victims to finally begin to start seeking closure.
"The victims are satisfied with the result," Morton said. "They're very pleased that he is going to be spending the maximum amount of time he can in prison and that he will never be able to practice as a doctor again."
Elias Muawad, Hallak's attorney, said the court received 55 letters from individuals expressing their support for Hallak. Several dozen of those individuals were in the courtroom Wednesday showing their support.
"Even after he's been convicted he has people that really love him, think that he's a great doctor, a good human being, a compassionate person," Muawad said. "I'm very happy to see that support.
Muawad said while he respects the jury's verdict, he does not agree with it.
Hallak could be eligible for parole in seven years, but even when he does get released from prison he will have to wear an electronic tether for the rest of his life.
Muawad said Hallak maintains his innocence and that he plans to appeal the verdict.