BURLINGTON — A Texas man, who officials said faked being a doctor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center so he could do intimate exams on Middlebury College female students, was sentenced to 44 months in prison on Monday for possession of child pornography.
The prison sentence for Nam Vu Bui, 35, is equal to the time he has spent in prison since October 2016 when he was arrested initially on state charges, including sexual assault. He was later indicted in U.S. District Court in Burlington on the pornography charge.
But Bui won’t be getting out of prison because federal authorities in Houston Texas indicted him earlier this year on four felony charges. The indictment charges three counts of sexual exploitation of minor children by making each one victim produce separate sexually explicit pornographic images that were transmitted across state lines. Bui also faces one count of possession of child pornography.
Bui, appearing by video from the Strafford County Jail in Dover, New Hampshire, told the Burlington court he was willing to be transported to Texas, where he can challenge any detention order on the new charges. If convicted, he faces up to 100 years in prison. The federal court for the Southern District of Texas sent an arrest warrant last Thursday to Vermont for Bui.
A jury of eight women and four men in U.S. District Court in Burlington deliberated fewer than two hours before convicting Bui at the end of his two-day trial last November.
Addison County State’s Attorney Dennis Wygmans initially charged Bui with sexual assault on a Middlebury College student in her dorm room, voyeurism, practicing medicine without a license and more than a half dozen other less serious state charges following a series of incidents on campus in October 2016.
Wygmans later dropped those state charges to allow for smoother sailing for the federal child pornography case, which was based on evidence found on Bui’s cellphone when seized in Middlebury.
It is unclear how many Middlebury College students underwent the fraudulent medical exams, but other nearby campuses, including the University of Vermont, were alerted to the scheme, officials said.
Senior Judge Williams K. Sessions told Bui on Monday he will be on supervised release for five years once he is freed from prison.
Bui said he has tried to make the most of his time behind bars. He has helped start a prayer group at one a New York jail and worked with inmates to get their general equivalency diploma at a Vermont prison.
“I have learned to be humble,” said Bui, who did not testify at his trial. “I can still do good in challenging conditions behind bars.”
Bui said the case has been hard on his 74-year-old mother.
Defense lawyer Lisa Shelkrot, in her sentencing memo, noted Bui was a child prodigy and showed considerable intelligence throughout school. Shelkrot also painted an abusive home life Bui and his mother suffered from his father.
Sessions said Shelkrot did a nice job outlining the incredible talents Bui has to share.
Shelkrot noted Bui had served 44 months, just above the low end of the 41- to 51-month range suggested by the federal sentencing guidelines, which are advisory.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Masterson said while the federal sentencing guidelines proposed 41 to 51 months, they may have overlooked one aggravating circumstance that would have bumped up the recommended penalty to between 63 and 78 months.
She wanted the aggravating issue — possession of sadistic and masochistic material — noted for the record, but was willing to agree with the 41- to 51-month range.
Masterson had said in her sentencing memo the court might want to consider an upward adjustment due to possession of sadistic and masochistic material. She maintained Bui had child pornography showing little girls being forcibly raped by adult men. Bui also has refused to accept responsibility for his actions, she wrote.
Masterson wrote Bui lied about being a doctor and lied that he had a place to live. He was splitting time between his girlfriend’s room in the Gifford Dorm and his Texas-registered car, often in a college parking lot. She said Bui used his relationships to coerce another Middlebury College woman to participate in a fake cervical cancer study during which he sexually assaulted her.
“Bui represents a danger to the public on a number of different levels as evidence by his conduct …” she wrote.
Middlebury police seized both a computer and cellphone belonging to Bui when officers were called to Middlebury College for a sexual assault complaint on Oct. 17, 2016. Examination showed child pornography on the phone.
The Addison County Sheriff’s Department and Homeland Security also were brought into the case.
Bui was claiming he was doing a research project and needed women to help him. One Middlebury College female student agreed to the examination and was told she and Bui would both wear masks, court records show. The woman reported when was told to take her pants off and lay down on a bed.
The woman reported she was improperly touched and when she peaked from under the mask she saw Bui did not have a mask on, that he had taken off his pants off and was videotaping the event, Sessions noted in a pre-trial ruling.
She got up and demanded to see Bui’s phone and saw there were six videos, but could not get access, the judge noted.
Masterson and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Boscia presented six witnesses at the trial. The defense lawyers, Shelkrot and Avi Springer, did not call any witnesses.