Crown urges judge to consider jail for massage therapist
N.D.G. man pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault that occurred in 2016
A massage therapist who worked out of his home in Notre-Damede-Grâce will learn in December whether he will have to spend time behind bars for sexually assaulting two of his clients.
During a recent sentence hearing at the Montreal courthouse, David Kost, 49, learned the Crown wants him to serve a nine-month jail term for the two counts of sexual assault he pleaded guilty to in February. Early in 2016, Kost and a fellow massage therapist agreed to exchange services, and he had worked on her twice without incident. But in March 2016, the massage he performed suddenly became a clear case of sexual assault. The fellow therapist asked Kost what he was doing and he blamed what happened on having lost feeling in his hands.
Two months later in May 2016, Kost met a young woman with a neck problem at a food market and persuaded her to go to his home for a massage. As he worked, Kost touched her inappropriately and pressed his erect penis against her body, prosecutor Anne Gauvin told Quebec court Judge Denis Mondor during the sentence hearing. The woman had to say “That’s enough!” before Kost finally stopped, Gauvin said.
“These women found themselves in positions of vulnerability,” the prosecutor said while requesting the nine-month term. “They needed care and they accepted to be touched (for therapy). This situation commands respect, and what happened was a breach of that confidence.”
Both of the victims testified during the hearing and said they were left emotionally scarred by what Kost did.
“The consequences were on different aspects of my life,” said the woman who was sexually assaulted in May 2016. “After the assault, I felt confused, fatigued and was depressed during the summer that followed the assault.
“I was left with the sensation of having been cornered because I put my trust in someone I didn’t really know in a context where I was vulnerable.”
The young woman added she had to quit her summer job because of what happened. She has difficulty riding on public buses or on the métro because she feels anxious when men stand close to her. She told Mondor she still feels uncomfortable in other situations, including visits to the dentist or when her hair is washed at a salon.
The massage therapist told Mondor that what Kost did to her has caused her to doubt what she has done for a living for more than a decade and that she stopped massaging male clients.
When he testified during the sentence hearing, Kost described himself as a fish shop owner. According to the Quebec business registry, his massage therapy company, Monkland Physio, stopped operating on Jan. 19. Earlier that same month, he was interviewed by the Montreal Gazette about how his shop in N.D.G., Eileen, sells sustainable seafood exclusively.
“Incarceration will result in the closure of his (fish shop),” defence lawyer Johanne Delfausse told Mondor while requesting a sentence her client can serve in the community.
She said Kost worked as a chef in Toronto, Vancouver and Australia for two decades before returning to Montreal a few years ago.
“The employees he has are not the type who can take it over,” Delfausse said. “The shop will close and two people will lose their jobs.”
While testifying during his sentence hearing, Kost apologized to both women for what he did.
“I can never find the words to express how truly sorry I am for the harm I caused you, your partners, your families and your friends. I’m sorry for the hurt I’ve caused and the mistrust I have generated and the pain you had to endure,” Kost said during the hearing. “I feel immense guilt and grief for the harm I have caused.”
The Crown is seeking a nine-month term for former massage therapist Dave Kost, shown at his fish store in January, who has pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault in early 2016.