CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte doctor pleaded guilty Friday to fondling several women in his office during medical exams nearly four years ago.
Eyewitness News reporter Genevieve Curtis was the only reporter inside the courtroom when Dr. Mario Hernandez pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual battery, but was sentenced under one count.
In 2015, Hernandez turned himself in on charges that he sexually assaulted three women at his office on Arrowood Road.
Shortly after, police said two more women claimed to have been victimized by Hernandez.
Five victims initially made reports against him in the fall of 2015, but Channel 9's Mark Becker followed the case closely and learned 10 more women eventually came forward with complaints against him as well.
Survivors of the sexual abuse told Channel 9 it was not easy to come forward against the doctor they trusted.
"He used his profession to abuse people," one survivor said.
Hernandez was given a suspended 60-day jail sentence. He must also register as a sex offender for 30 years and give up his license.
Prosecutors said there were two things that were important to the survivors.
"Sex offender registry was of the utmost important in this case to make sure he cannot prey on any other members of the community," a prosecutor said. "I think that the strength that they all had in court today was palpable to every member in that courtroom, and we really appreciate it."
Hernandez will be on probation for the next two years.
Channel 9's Genevieve Gurtis is speaking with two victims who were at the courthouse, on Eyewitness News at 5.
Cox Media Group