NEW YORK (AP) — A New York-area doctor was charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday with sexually abusing multiple male patients over several years, accused of using the prestige of two major medical institutions to make his actions appear medically necessary and appropriate.

Darius A. Paduch, 55, of North Bergen, New Jersey, was charged in Manhattan federal court with sexually abusing patients, including two men who were allegedly assaulted before they became adults. Authorities said the attacks occurred at a Manhattan hospital from at least 2015 through 2019, and then at a second institution on Long Island.

In an initial court appearance, Paduch pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, the charges could carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years or up to life in prison.

Paducah was detained with the expectation that his attorney would present a bail argument at a future date. His attorney declined to comment.

The indictment said Paduch had worked in New York from 2003 to 2023 as a practicing urologist specializing in male reproductive health.

The doctor claimed that some of his methods of touching his patients were medically necessary, but the indictment said they served no medical purpose and were instead intended for his sexual gratification.

US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement that Paduch abused the trust of patients who saw him for sensitive medical issues.

“Paduch took advantage of his victims for his own deviant satisfaction. Thanks to this morning’s arrest, Paduch’s abuse of his patients ends today,” he said.

Michael J. Driscoll, chief of the FBI’s New York office, urged victims who have not spoken to authorities to call the FBI.

The prosecution was praised by Mallory Allen, a law partner at a firm that has filed seven lawsuits on behalf of patients against the doctor and two hospitals where he has worked: New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and Northwell Health.

«The indictment is a definitive step toward justice for his many victims, and we applaud the federal prosecutors for bringing these charges,» Allen said in a statement.

In a statement, Northwell Health said it takes «these allegations very seriously.»

«Dr. Paduch no longer works at Northwell. We will cooperate with the proper authorities as they conduct their investigation,» the statement added.

Weill Cornell Medicine said in its own statement that it has organized an external investigation and is also taking the «troubling allegations» seriously.

“If proven to be true, it would be hard to overstate our empathy for the survivors of this horrific abuse and their bravery in coming forward,” he said.