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

Montreal Gazette - - CITY - PAUL CHERRY pcherry@post­media.com

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.”

MARIE-FRANCE COALLIER/FILES

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.

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