Doctor jailed for sexual assaults - Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

29/09/2016

A doctor appeared at Luton Crown Court today, Thursday, 29 September 2016, and was jailed for two and a half years for abusing his position of trust by sexually exploiting three patients in his care.

Doctor Robert Stephen Lewis, aged 51, of North Bridge Street, Shefford, was sentenced today after being found guilty last November of four counts of indecent assault against three victims, who were all referred to him between 1999 and 2002 for pre-employment medical checks.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved sexual activity between a man, who is now 51-years-old, and three women, which occurred between December 1999 and March 2002 in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

"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 on 27 November 2015, at Luton Crown Court, he was found guilty, by a jury, of 4 counts of indecent assault, after a 4-week trial, despite his denials.

"This was an extremely difficult and complex case to prosecute involving numerous victims and witnesses, and evidence from a medical expert to exclude any possible innocent explanation for the actions of Doctor Lewis during the medical examinations.

"The convictions and today's sentence serve as an important message to people who have been the victim of crimes such as these, or those that know that such crimes are being committed, that they should come forward and that time is no barrier to justice.  The CPS will work closely with partners, as we did with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit in this case, to ensure that robust criminal cases are put before the courts.

"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."

Detective Inspector Scott Winton, who led the case, 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."

There are no reports that the doctor abused any of his own regular patients at his GP surgery in Stotfold.