A MASSAGE therapist with 35 years of experience has been convicted of sexually assaulting three women who went to him on the Coast.
Philip Roy Newman, 65, was running a therapeutic massage clinic at Marcoola in April 2009 when he inappropriately touched a 42-year-old woman who had come to apply for a receptionist job.
Maroochydore District Court heard Newman persuaded the woman to have a lymphatic drainage massage, during which he massaged her breasts and nipples.
Crown prosecutor Michael Gawrych said the woman "froze" when Newman then touched her underpants and the massage ceased.
Judge David Andrews said the woman left feeling abused, conned and humiliated.
"Only after this was done it became clear there was no job available for her," Judge Andrews said.
Mr Gawrych said the woman made a complaint to police about eight months later but then withdrew it.
He said she reinstated the complaint in 2014 after seeing Newman giving massages at the Eumundi Markets.
The second victim was a 22-year-old woman who also went to the clinic in 2009 in search of work.
She was there in an unpaid work-experience capacity when she too agreed to a lymphatic drainage massage.
Newman fondled her breasts and through his vigorous movement caused her towel to fall away, exposing her pubic area.
The court heard he stroked the woman in her pubic area but did not touch her vagina.
Newman's third sexual assault occurred at the Eumundi Markets in July 2010 when a 27-year-old woman with a stiff neck agreed to a lymphatic drainage massage.
She thought it was wrong that Newman then massaged her breasts and she felt repulsed after she left.
Police charged Newman in 2014.
In a police interview at the time Newman told police his procedures were legitimate, including touching nipples.
Defence barrister David Crews tendered references from former clients that showed Newman was a liked, respected and valued practitioner.
Mr Crews said Newman was now living in Melbourne and had stopped giving massages.
He said Newman was working part-time at markets practising herbal medicine and doing iris photography.
The court heard Newman, a former representative swimmer and surf lifesaver, had suffered an enormous amount of stress as a result of being charged with the sexual assault offences.
Judge Andrews said a strong message of deterrence needed to be sent to other professional masseurs who might sexually offend against clients.
"You gained the trust of these women by deluding them that it was a professional massage they were about to receive," Judge Andrews said.
Newman was jailed for 18 months but the sentence was wholly suspended.
He made a quick dash from the court house after the sentence, sidestepping waiting media and running down Cornmeal Parade.
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