Edmonton Journal

Sherwood Park therapist groped teen client during massage, court hears

- JONNY WAKEFIELD jwakefield@postmedia.com twitter.com/jonnywakef­ield

The girl remembers feeling a sudden jolt of discomfort as she lay on the massage table, followed by a rush of tears.

“It was just really weird,” the teenager recalled in a video played for jurors in an Edmonton courtroom.

“It felt insanely uncomforta­ble and just not right. It made me feel kind of queasy.”

“I was confused and scared and didn't know what to do.”

On Tuesday, John Dorion began a Court of King's Bench trial on three sex offences stemming from his time at a Sherwood Park massage clinic.

Dorion, who pleaded not guilty, is accused of sexually assaulting two clients while he worked at Baseline Chiropract­ic and Wellness Centre in June 2022.

One of the alleged victims, who was 15 at the time of her encounter with Dorion, testified remotely from a special room in the courthouse for youth witnesses. Her name is protected by a publicatio­n ban.

The teen claims Dorion touched her crotch while he gave her a massage on June 6, 2022. She said she went to Baseline alone that day and was surprised when her usual massage therapist was absent, the girl said during a Sept. 28, 2022, interview with RCMP at the Zebra Child and Youth Advocacy Centre.

Dorion took the teen into a private room and repeatedly suggested he give her a full-body massage, the girl claims. She insisted she only wanted him to work on her back and neck.

She was startled when, in her telling, Dorion began to rub her inner thighs.

“It felt really uncomforta­ble, because it felt like stroking more than a massage,” she said. “It didn't really feel like it was helping.”

The girl claims Dorion then touched her genital area with his fingertips.

“I understand if it was an accident, like once or twice, but it was more than that,” she recalled in a video of the interview. “I'm kind of panicking at this point, thinking what I could do. But I was lying on this elevated table pretty much naked and there's this burly guy standing over me.”

“The entire time I was trying to hold back tears, kind of,” she said. “I was so uncomforta­ble, trying to calm myself down, like, `Maybe this is his massage style.'”

The girl said she later texted friends telling them something weird had happened at her massage, but did not tell them about the alleged sexual touching. She also told her mom, who did not take action until news broke that Dorion had been charged in a separate incident.

During cross-examinatio­n, defence lawyer Ajay Juneja produced a text exchange in which the girl asked her mother whether it was normal for Dorion — also her massage therapist — to work on her butt. The girl admitted there was no text record of her telling her mother about the alleged contact with her crotch.

“I don't remember why I didn't bring it up,” the girl said.

I'm kind of panicking ... thinking what I could do. But I was lying on this elevated table pretty much naked and there's this burly guy standing over me.

Juneja also brought out that the girl was under a blanket at the start of the massage and that, when Dorion worked on her lower body, he may have bunched it between her legs.

He noted the girl did not go to police until she learned someone else had made a similar allegation.

The second allegation comes from a woman who also claims Dorion touched her genitals, Crown prosecutor Stephanie Jansen told jurors.

Eight days have been set aside for evidence in the trial, which will continue after the Easter weekend.

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