Mesa doctor sentenced to a year in jail for fondling patients

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PHOENIX -- A Valley cardiologist was sentenced to a year in jail for fondling his patients, the maximum sentence according to a plea deal.

Richard Lewis pleaded guilty to 18 counts of aggravated assault last month.

His sentence includes 15 years on supervised probation with sex offender terms, even though he doesn't have to register as one - in accordance with the plea deal.

Lewis will also be stripped of his medical license.

Several of his 18 victims were in court Thursday to make statements, including Kate Wilson who complained to the Arizona Medical Board in 2006, but the case was eventually dismissed.

 "The truth is there is another side of that man. I trusted Dr. Lewis could help me and instead he used his position as a doctor to take advantage of me and sexually abuse me. He broke his oath to do no harm," said Kate Wilson.

Of all the victims, one said she was assaulted. Jennifer - who didn't want to give her last name - was present in court.

"Dr. Lewis violated me on June 4th [2009] while I was coming out of sedation after surgery had been completed," Jennifer stated.

Lewis' wife spoke in court defending her husband, and then Lewis himself spoke to the judge.

"I was oblivious and disrespectful to personal boundaries. This sort of arrogance is unacceptable and unforgivable. Words cannot adequately express the remorse and sorrow I feel for the hurt I've caused. Your Honor, I'm standing here before you not even remotely contemplating being in my life a convicted felon. I accept full responsibility for this ultimate shame," said Lewis.

And now the victims say they are looking forward to putting this behind them.

"There was a sense of peace, finally feeling like we were heard," said Wilson.