A doctor who abused his position of trust to sexually exploit three patients in his care has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Doctor Robert Stephen Lewis, 51, of North Bridge Street, Shefford, was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault against a total of three victims, who were all referred to him to carry out pre-employment medical checks between 1999 and 2002.
Dr Lewis committed the offences against the women during their medical examinations, abusing his position by using the situation to sexually touch his victims.
Detective inspector Scott Winton, said: “Robert Lewis carried out sickening offences against women who should have been able to trust him.
“His behaviour was made all the more repulsive by the fact he was in a position of authority.
“The victims in this case have shown incredible bravery in coming forward, and I would hope this case reassures all victims of sexual offences that we take every report – whether recent or historic – extremely seriously.
“This has been a long and complex investigation and I am pleased that this doctor has not managed to get away with his disgusting acts – despite what he may have believed for all these years.”
In a statement read out to the judge, one of Lewis’ victims described the impact the assault had on her.
She said: “I clearly remember how I felt when I walked into his consulting room that day.
“I felt happy, confident and excited about my future prospects. I left feeling humiliated, having been assaulted by Dr Lewis.
“I remember feeling powerless, vulnerable, and ashamed.”
The statement went on to describe how the victim no longer had trust in male medical professionals and is wary about leaving her child alone with men.
The victim concluded: “I feel vindicated by the jury’s guilty verdict.
“Knowing that they believed me and that justice has been served will allow me, I hope, to finally move on. Dr Lewis knew what he did that day, the shame is his, not mine.”
Lewis was found guilty of the four offences in November 2015 and a jury were hung on further indecent assault counts.
Following a retrial in September, Lewis was found not guilty of eight further offences.
There are no reports that the doctor abused any of his own regular patients at his GP surgery in Stotfold.
Adrian Foster, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Robert Lewis abused his position of trust as a doctor and took advantage of his circumstances to subtly sexually abuse the women, during medical examinations, for his own sexual gratification.
“He deliberately targeted women he was not likely to see again and disguised what he was doing to ensure that those he assaulted would be less likely to complain.
“The women were particularly vulnerable because they were desperate to pass their medical in order to secure new or alternative employment within the ambulance or fire service.
“It is only due to the great courage of the victims that the despicable behaviour of this man has been exposed.
“I would like to pay tribute to them for their strength and tenacity in coming forward.
“Lewis denied any sexual wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct, but he was found guilty, by a jury, of 4 counts of indecent assault, after a 4-week trial, despite his denials.
“The emotional impact, on the victims, of the abhorrent actions of this man is impossible to quantify. I hope that the convictions and today’s sentence give some small comfort to them.
“Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.”