Latin America & Caribbean

Brazilian fertility expert jailed for rape

A prominent Brazilian fertility doctor has been jailed for sexually abusing 39 of his patients.

Dr Roger Abdelmassih was given a 278-year sentence for assaulting women at his reproductive health clinic in Sao Paulo.

He has always denied the charges, and his lawyers say he will appeal.

Dr Abdelmassih, 66, is well-known in Brazil, and has treated many celebrities from the world of sport, entertainment and politics.

He was arrested in 2009 after being denounced by a former employee.

Thirty-nine women came forward to say he had raped or sexually abused them during medical examinations or when they were in recovery rooms after receiving fertility treatment.

Some said they were abused when they were recovering from sedation.

He says he was never alone with any of his patients, and has suggested that some may have suffered hallucinations brought on by an anaesthetic.

Despite the long sentence, under Brazilian law Dr Abdelmassih will serve a maximum of 30 years.