Nova Scotia massage therapist found guilty of violent sexual assault – Halifax

A massage therapist from Dartmouth, N.S., has been convicted of a violent sexual assault that happened in early 2013.

On Wednesday, Justice Richard Coughlan found Trevor J. Stevens guilty of sexual assault, assault, overcoming resistance by attempting to choke, suffocate or strangle another person, and one count of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.

Stevens was found not guilty of a second count of uttering threats.

The offence happened in January 2013 at Stevens’s home in Dartmouth, which is also where he operated his massage practice. Stevens was charged in 2018.

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Crown attorney Katie Lovett said the Crown accepted the court’s decision and was pleased that Stevens was found to be responsible.

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“At the same time, crimes of sexual violence cause profound harm to survivors, their community, and society at large,” she said.

“And while a finding of guilt does not alleviate the harm caused in these cases, the Crown hopes that this verdict will provide some relief to the survivor that justice has been served.”

Lovett also said she hopes this case will help encourage other survivors of sexual violence to come forward.

She was not able to say if the victim was one of Stevens’s massage therapy clients, but confirmed she was known to him. The victim’s identity is protected by a publication ban.

Joel Pink, Stevens’s lawyer, declined to comment on the verdict, though he said they will study the decision “to see if there are grounds of appeal.”

Unregulated industry

Stevens was a member of the Massage Therapists’ Association of Nova Scotia and his membership was suspended in late May after the association learned of the charges against him.

In an interview Wednesday, Greg MacDonald, MTANS’s executive director, said it remains suspended and the association plans to further review his membership and remove it after he is sentenced.

“The court has decided that he’s guilty of the majority of charges, and we will leave our suspension in place until the conclusion, which is when the sentencing is complete,” he said.

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How a N.S. therapist was allowed to keep practicing after first sexual assault allegation

Massage therapy is an unregulated industry in Nova Scotia and Stevens was able to continue to practice after the charges were laid.

However, the province does have a Massage Therapy Title Protection Act, which prohibits people from using titles like “massage therapist” or “registered massage therapist” unless they are a member in good standing with a massage therapy association.

While this act also applies to online communications, Stevens’s website and Facebook page describing himself as an RMT remain up more than a month after his suspension, though the Facebook page hasn’t been active since August 2018 — the month Stevens was arrested.

The act is still fairly new, as it came into effect in early 2020, and no fines have been laid under it.

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Massage therapists must meet new requirements in 2020 under Nova Scotia law

MacDonald said the association will instruct Stevens to remove those titles and references to MTANS on his website and social media, adding that the association is working with police to solidify how the act can be enforced.

“Not being a member in good standing … he is not eligible to call himself a massage therapist or an RMT,” he said.

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Stevens is due in court for a sentencing hearing on Nov. 26.

Click to play video: 'Pender Island woman who launched complaint about massage therapist wants to know why he’s still practicing'

Pender Island woman who launched complaint about massage therapist wants to know why he’s still practicing

Pender Island woman who launched complaint about massage therapist wants to know why he’s still practicing – Mar 18, 2021

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