"I paid to be raped!": Victim of insidious masseur

A MASSAGE therapist has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years for the insidious rape of a young Hervey Bay mother.

Paul Kirk, 52, pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay District Court on Wednesday to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault.

His client, who cannot be named, booked three sessions with Kirk, a "hypno-analytical psychotherapist" at his business Western Healing.

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She was seeking treatment for pain associated with a broken foot and help with quitting smoking.

Little did she know, Kirk had previously been convicted of the sexual assault of two other women while operating a massage business at Warwick.

On her third visit, the Hervey Bay woman became his third known victim when she was digitally penetrated during a massage session.

Crown Prosecutor Katrina Overell told the court Kirk was "using a lot of oil and massaged her... to the point where his hand movements caused the seam of her underpants to bunch and roll over.

"She flinched at this and he told her to relax," Ms Overell said.

"By this point she felt scared, uncomfortable and disgusted."

Reading a victim impact statement to the court, the woman said she "no longer felt safe" in the community.

"Where I had sparkle... now I feel like a graveyard," she said.

"The repeated flashbacks and assorted treatments can make day-to-day existence hell; smells, sounds, images and human touch are triggers to anxiety attacks.

"I paid for a service - I paid to be raped!"

Defence barrister Rick Taylor said his client had muscular dystrophy, which had since reduced him to an electronic wheelchair.

"It's indicated his degenerative rate will continue in the same way it has in the last couple of years. It's been a rather rapid deterioration," Mr Taylor said.

"He is a person who is prone to falling... and on top of that, he appears to be suffering from major depression.

"The future of this man is rather bleak."

Justice John Robertson set a parole eligibility date of December 7.

According to a notice on the Health Ombudsman's website, Kirk is subject to an interim order which has prohibited him from practising since September last year.

Outside court, the woman said she wanted other women to know they too could speak out about sexual assault.

"This is the sort of stuff that destroys relationships and families," she said

"You should be able to trust professionals."

"I just don't want this to happen to other women."

The sentencing has also lifted a weight off the woman's shoulders.

"Now I feel like I can move forward and start kicking some goals.

"This has given fuel to my fire to support and help other women who need it most.

"I can sleep safely tonight knowing he's behind bars."


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