The 61-year-old Peterborough masseuse, which has been charged for the total of 13 counts of sexual assault took the stand in his own defense on Wednesday, Sept. 29. After three of his former women clients have testified that the Peterborough massage therapist sexually assaulted them during a massage at Euphoria Wellness Spa in the winter of 2019.
Three women, whose identities are protected by a publication ban, are among 13 former clients to report being sexually assaulted by Rodrigues.
After two-of-three women told the court that Rodrigues sexually assaulted them, allegedly using yoni massage techniques without their consent. At his defense on Wednesday, Sept. 29, Rodrigues told the court that he didn’t have any knowledge about yoni therapy, and he was never trained or practiced any treatments that involved touching a woman’s genital organs and denied all allegations that he touched any of the women in a sexual way.
Instead, he said the massages were standard deep tissues massages that the clients requested. Formerly at the commencement of his trial, also Rodrigues pleaded not guilty to all charges and stated he will take his charges to trial.
Earlier this month, the first of three complainants testified that Rodrigues sexually assaulted her when he allegedly used yoni massage therapy techniques on her without her consent.
According to several articles online, the sensual massage practice is allegedly used to free women of both mental and physical tensions. Massage techniques include cupping, circling, pushing, pulling, tugging, and rolling a woman’s genital organs.
On Tuesday, Sept.28, a second woman testified that Rodrigues sexually assaulted her by using the same techniques.
Peterborough police started looking into the massage therapist after a woman reported she had been sexually assaulted during a massage at a Peterborough spa on Dec. 9, 2019.
According to Global News report, In December 2019, Rodrigues was charged with two counts each of sexual assault and assault following reported incidents at the spa on Dec. 6 and Dec. 9, respectively.
On Jan. 7, 2020, he was charged with another count of sexual assault and assault from a separate reported incident at the spa on Dec. 9. On Jan. 24, 2020, he was again charged with another six accounts of sexual assault after police say more individuals came forward following Rodrigues’ initial arrest.
Following Rodrigues’ arrest, a male came forward and reported to police that he was sexually and physically assaulted. Since January 2020, at least 10 more people have reported being sexually assaulted by him, police say
After the Peterborough Police Service arrested and charged Gerard Sylvester Rodrigues, on Dec. 10, 2019, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario stated on a release on Dec. 13, that Rodrigues’ bail conditions include a restriction on his practice. But the woman who testified that Rodrigues sexually assaulted her On Tuesday, Sept.28, after explaining how scared and confused she was after the incident occurred also expressed her worries about Rodrigues potentially serving new clients, the woman said she had her sister call the spa to see if Rodrigues was still being booked, and he was, according to the woman.
“I was worried about that,” she said.
“I felt compelled to call the police and tell them what had happened.”
On Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, Gerard Rodrigues’ lawyer, as well as assistant Crown attorney Kelly Eberhard, appeared briefly before Justice Stuart Konyer via Zoom in the Ontario Court of Justice in Peterborough where the case was addressed.
The accused are standing three trials, the first took place on Sept. 8, 2021. Later on, his case was returned to court on Sep 28 and Sep 29.
Over two days of testimony, Justice Beninger heard evidence from three women who reported they were sexually assaulted by Rodrigues while receiving a massage in 2019.
During submissions, assistant Crown attorney Kelly Eberhard said Rodrigues’ evidence was not credible and claimed the accused had a tendency to deflect when questioned about the alleged sexual assaults. Eberhard said it was absolutely unbelievable that Rodrigues knew nothing about yoni.
In his submissions, Rodrigues’ lawyer, Paul Lewandowski, disagreed with the prosecution’s assessment of his client’s testimony and explained that his client gave his evidence straightforwardly and was unshaken.
Justice Beninger’s verdict is expected on Oct. 22, 2021.