A SPORTS masseur who took advantage of female clients has been jailed for sexually assaulting four of them during therapy.
Steven Goss indecently touched the women while massaging the women who were stripped down to their underwear.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that two of the victims were receiving treatment at Goss’s clinic, Your Relaxing Times, in Burnopfield, near Stanley, but one was at her own place of work, after most colleagues had left for the day, and another was in a car park at a sports club.
One of the women said she was indecently touched between 15 and 20 times during a massage but was too fearful of saying anything at the time as she was alone in his locked premises.
But the court heard all the victims later confided in either partners or close friends over what had taken place.
The former Royal Navy serviceman was accused of sexually assaulting six women, offences he denied.
But after a trial in February, the 52-year-old defendant, of Mount Pleasant, in Dipton, near Stanley, was found guilty in the cases of four of the complainants and cleared of two others.
Sentence was adjourned for preparation of a probation report on Goss, who is said to remain in denial of the allegations, claiming the women must have misinterpreted his actions.
Vince Ward, prosecuting, read statements given by the victims in which they all spoke of the harmful psychological impact of his actions, leaving them feeling “violated” by him, and one referring to him as, “a monster”.
Mr Ward said one victim has been treated for post traumatic stress disorder.
Lorraine Mustard, mitigating, presented character testimonials to the court, one from a Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer who spoke highly of Goss during his service career.
Another was from a satisfied customer who said Goss’s behaviour during therapy was “perfectly professional” at all times.
Miss Mustard said Goss, of previous good character and a married man with a teenage son, trained as a masseur on ending his naval service in 2014.
She described the offences as “opportunistic” and, since the last was committed in 2016, there have been no further complaints over his behaviour.
But she added that the business closed following his conviction and he has no plans to return to such a field of work.
Judge Robert Adams said the offending was a “betrayal of the trust” placed in Goss by his clients, two of whom were “particularly vulnerable”, being alone with him at his clinic.
“It was repeated behaviour, on a number of occasions taking the opportunity when it arose.”
Imposing a 21-month prison sentence, Judge Adams also made Goss subject to a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, including a prohibition on him working in any form of therapy with female clients.
Goss must also register as a sex offender for the next ten years.