Doctor jailed for taking 35,000 photos of patients

Doctor jailed for taking 35,000 photos of patients
The gynaecologist took the photos on a secret camera during examinations. Photo: DPA
A court sentenced a German gynaecologist on Monday to three-and-a-half years in prison for over 1,400 counts of gross invasion of privacy. He took more than 35,000 photos of his patients using a secret camera hidden in a drawer.

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The Rhineland-Palatinate state court also found the 58-year-old doctor guilty of three counts of sexual abuse through misusing his position of trust. He was accused of conducting vaginal examinations for his own sexual arousal rather than for medical reasons.

Prosecutors working on the case – the first of its kind in Germany – pushed initially for a four-year sentence. But the judge decided on three-and-a-half years.

His behaviour came to light only in 2011 after the doctor's medical assistants became suspicious, noticing that he always opened and closed a drawer before a patient came into his examination room.

The drawer was not normally used for anything – and was usually empty when the assistants looked inside – until one day one of them found a digital camera inside.

"That really shocked us," one of the assistants told the court back in September.

She found a photo on the camera of a patient in examination position on the gynaecological chair. This prompted her to go to the police.

Officers found 36,146 photos, as well as 62 videos, the Welt newspaper reported in September.

"I am ashamed," the 58-year-old doctor told the court in Frankenthal near Mannheim in Rhineland-Palatinate in September.

He spoke of a dark side to him, being unable to explain his actions over three years in any other way.

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