Man accused of sexually assaulting female client during massage physiotherapy session
A man has gone on trial in Dublin accused of sexually assaulting a female client during a massage therapy session.
The 48-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexually assaulting the woman at at his practice in Dublin on January 24, 2015.
The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial heard that the accused man allegedly removed the woman's underwear and touched her vagina, before kissing her bare bottom and saying he “just couldn't help himself”.
The woman took the stand and told the jury she first visited the accused man's practice in January 2015 for a sports-related injury to her neck and shoulder. “I thought he was a physiotherapist,” she told the court.
She said she attended the man's practice four or five times. She said that for most of the sessions, she removed her top and bra and lay face down for treatment, while covered with a towel.
During one session, the woman said the accused finished working on her shoulder and started massaging her leg, where she had an old knee injury. She said he helped her remove her trousers so he could look at her knee. “Nothing inappropriate happened,” she said.
On the day of the alleged offence, she said she attended the clinic for an appointment at 12.30pm. No-one else was present at the clinic.
She told the court she initially removed her top and then her bra while lying face down on the massage bed, before removing her trousers.
She said the accused man was massaging her lower back when he tapped her lightly. The woman said she thought he wanted to lower her underpants slightly to massage her lower back, so she lifted her hips.
She said he then took her underwear off. “I knew it wasn't right and I knew it was strange,” the woman said. She said she didn't immediately say anything. “I was trying to figure out what was going on. I knew it wasn't right.”
The woman said the accused man started massaging her entire leg, before he placed his hand on her vagina. She said he then placed his other hand on her shoulder and massaged it at the same time.
“That's when I knew this isn't normal. This doesn't happen when you go to see a physio,” the woman said through her tears.
She said she told the man: “I don't like that” and he removed his hand “straight away”.
“I was shocked,” the woman said. “I thought he might say 'sorry' or 'I didn't mean to do that' but he didn't say anything.”
The woman said the accused man started to put her underwear back on. “Then I remember him kissing my bottom and saying he just couldn't help himself,” she said.
The woman got dressed and was putting her shoes on when the accused man said to her: “Women can be so cruel,” the court heard.
“I was petrified. I just wanted to get out of there. I just wanted to get home,” the woman said.
Before she left, she said the man said: “I haven't upset you, have I?”
“I said, 'yes',” the woman said. “Then he gave me a hug and, like an idiot, I gave him a hug back. And then I paid him.”
The trial continues before Judge Karen O'Connor and a jury.