The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
By: Grant Burr
Posted: 06/13/2017 9:15 AM
A Blumenort massage therapist facing several charges of sexual assault looked on as the first of several complainants testified against him in Winnipeg court on Monday.
Ken Wall was arrested in November 2014 after a female client reported to Steinbach RCMP that Wall had sexually assaulted her during a massage at his practice, Ken’s Massage, which he operated out of his Blumenort home. At the time, RCMP reached out to the public out of a belief there may have been more victims. Wall was charged with eight more counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation a month later.
Wall has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A publication ban issued by the court protects the identities of witnesses in the case.
On Monday, Judge Carena Roller heard from a woman who, after a foot injury which had also caused discomfort in her legs and hips, sought out Wall for a series of treatments.
The woman described how at one point Wall asked her to lay on her back with her legs spread and feet touching together. He then began massaging a tendon in her groin area, an act which left her feeling very uncomfortable.
Returning for another session, the woman said Wall began work on her feet and legs and then on the same area of her groin before asking to, "go in and work on certain muscles."
"I guess so," the woman said she replied, though she acknowledged she wasn’t clear at the time what that meant.
Wall moved her into a new position, she said, and removed her underwear.
"I felt uncomfortable the way he was looking at me," she said.
The woman said Wall then inserted his fingers into her vagina.
Crown attorney Michelle Bright sought to clarify Wall never explained that what he was about to do would involve placing his fingers into her vagina.
"If he’d used the word, I would not have given permission," the woman said.
As Wall prayed a blessing on her at the end of session, the woman said she "felt very dirty" but never shared her concerns to him.
After talking about the experience with others, the woman reported the incident to police a month later.
Defence lawyer Sarah Inness wondered if the witness’s lack of understanding of massage terminology had contributed to the situation.
Inness suggested Wall had said he was going to perform an "inguinal massage" when the witness believed he asked to "go in." Inness also challenged the witness’s recollection that Wall had in fact inserted his fingers into her vagina.
"He went into my vagina, I know what happened," the woman told Inness.
Court also heard testimony Monday from a member of the woman’s family, who Wall contacted after his arrest in an attempt to arrange a meeting with the woman.
The man said Wall told him he had been "practicing some new things" and expressed to him that he wished the woman had told him about her concerns about the massage.
The man agreed to call the woman but, after hearing from her what happened, he called Wall to tell him there was little chance a meeting would be arranged.
Testimony from witnesses called by the Crown is expected to continue into next week.
Southern Health board chair Abe Bergen says he expects an announcement from the province “this fall” regarding long-gestating plans for a 140-bed expansion to Steinbach’s Rest Haven personal care home.
“At the end of the day, we’re waiting for an announcement, ...
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