Mas­sage ther­a­pist ac­cuses Chan­dler man of in­de­cency

The Arizona Republic - - News - Uriel J. Gar­cia

A Chan­dler man will be ar­raigned in court next month on al­le­ga­tions that he mas­tur­bated in front of a mas­sage ther­a­pist.

Matthew Coates, 43, is fac­ing a mis­de­meanor charge of pub­lic sex­ual in­de­cency in con­nec­tion with the Nov. 29 in­ci­dent. Coates is a suc­cess­ful real es­tate agent and is co-founder of the pop­u­lar Liv­ing Chan­dler Face­book group, which has more than 66,000 mem­bers.

Po­lice say Coates met his ac­cuser after re­spond­ing to a pro­mo­tion for her mas­sage busi­ness on Liv­ing Chan­dler. The woman called 911 im­me­di­ately after his ap­point­ment and since has ob­tained an in­junc­tion against him.

Todd K. Coolidge, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Coates, said in an email to The Ari­zona Repub­lic that his client would not be com­ment­ing.

“I rep­re­sent Mr. Coates and have ad­vised him to not make any state­ments at this time,” Coolidge said. “The mat­ter is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion and we are work­ing with the prose­cu­tor’s of­fice to re­solve this.”

Ac­cord­ing to a Chan­dler po­lice re­port, a 30-year-old woman who works as a free­lance mas­sage ther­a­pist re­ported to of­fi­cers that on Nov. 29, Coates mas­tur­bated to­ward the end of a 90-minute mas­sage ap­point­ment.

The woman, who con­tacted po­lice the same night, told the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer she felt un­com­fort­able and cut the ap­point­ment a few min­utes short, the po­lice re­port says.

She told po­lice Coates told her, “You have me aroused,” the re­port says. When she re­sponded, “Ex­cuse me,” Coates apol­o­gized and stopped. As she con­tin­ued with the mas­sage, he be­gan to mas­tur­bate again, the woman told po­lice. That’s when she told him the mas­sage was over and she left the room, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice re­port.

The mas­sage took place at a med­i­cal of­fice where she works. Her em­ployer al­lows her to use the lo­ca­tion for her mas­sage ap­point­ments when the of­fice is closed, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice re­port.

When Coates paid her $90 for the ap­point­ment, he added $50 in gra­tu­ity and asked her what she thought “about

him be­ing aroused, ”the woman told po­lice. She re­sponded that she’s not the mas­sage ther­a­pist for him, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice re­port.

Coates had sched­uled a fol­low-up ap­point­ment but later can­celed it, telling the woman via Face­book mes­sage that he was too busy.

As part of the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the woman agreed to make an­other ap­point­ment with Coates as pre­text to ar­rest him. Po­lice had the woman call Coates, and of­fi­cers lis­tened in on their con­ver­sa­tion after hav­ing coached her on what to say, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice re­port.

“Im­me­di­ately after hang­ing up the phone, (redacted) said, ‘Can I go puke now?’ (Redacted) be­gan vis­i­bly shak­ing and cry­ing,” one of­fi­cer wrote.

On Dec. 27, Coates ar­rived at the of­fice for what he thought was an­other mes­sage ap­point­ment, think­ing he was go­ing to have sex with the woman, the po­lice re­port says.

But po­lice were on scene and ar­rested him. Coates, in his in­ter­view with po­lice, ad­mit­ted to “touch­ing him­self” dur­ing the mas­sage, the re­port says. He said he didn’t con­tact the woman again after the mas­sage be­cause he knew she felt un­com­fort­able. He told po­lice he was sur­prised that she called to set up an­other ap­point­ment, the re­port says.

Asked by po­lice whether the woman had done any­thing to make him be­lieve it was OK to mas­tur­bate, Coates “talked about how she was pleas­ant and friendly,” an of­fi­cer wrote in the re­port. “I asked if this seemed more than pro­fes­sional, and he said it cer­tainly could have been just ‘pro­fes­sional cour­tesy,’ but he seemed to im­ply that the pleas­ant con­ver­sa­tion and de­meanor fac­tored into his de­ci­sion to mas­tur­bate.”

Coates told the of­fi­cer that he “fre­quented other mas­sage par­lors where the mas­sage ther­a­pist would ini­ti­ate mas­tur­ba­tory con­tact,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port. “.At no point did he state or sug­gest Ms. (redacted) did any­thing like this dur­ing his mas­sage.

“He main­tained she was pro­fes­sional and friendly, but did not sug­gest she did any­thing that went be­yond the proper and pro­fes­sional bounds of her role as his mas­sage ther­a­pist.”

Coates also told the de­tec­tive about his 20-year mar­riage, his “up­stand­ing rep­u­ta­tion” and that “he worked with var­i­ous causes to im­prove the lives of oth­ers,” the re­port says.

Be­fore he was cited and re­leased, the of­fi­cer served Coates with an or­der of pro­tec­tion against ha­rass­ing the woman, the po­lice re­port says.

His ar­raign­ment is sched­uled for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 5, Chan­dler Mu­nic­i­pal Court records show.

Coates and his wife founded the Liv­ing Chan­dler Face­book group in 2016, which has more than 66,000 mem­bers to­day. The on­line group works to build a sense of com­mu­nity, shar­ing in­for­ma­tion about the city, host­ing events and co­or­di­nat­ing char­ity drives.

The Ari­zona Repub­lic part­nered with Coates for a time in 2017, shar­ing news sto­ries on Liv­ing Chan­dler and pub­lish­ing oc­ca­sional col­umns from the Coate­ses on az­cen­ and in the Chan­dler Repub­lic.

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