News

Client fondled by masseuse during home treatment session

A PACIFIC Haven masseuse sexually abused his 28-year-old client under the disguise of performing treatment for her scoliosis.

But he will not spend a single night behind bars.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Hynes said the woman was left feeling vulnerable after the attack, where the woman had her vagina and breasts fondled.

During the abuse Anthony Pittorino, 67, then engaged in what his defence lawyer described as banter.

"Don't worry sweetie, I have never lost a finger yet," Mr Hynes said Pittorino told the woman during the massage.

"Just don't jump."

Pittorino pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay District Court to two counts of indecent treatment.

The assaults occurred on December 21, 2013, while the woman was on the massage table.

Mr Hynes said the woman had sought out Pittorino to help treat scoliosis after her pain had become difficult to manage.

While being treated, Mr Pittorino touched her vaginal area and on the breasts in a way which was clearly sexual.

"He was in a position of trust," Mr Hynes said.

"She was in a vulnerable position."

The massage took place at Pittorino's home where he conducted his treatment sessions.

The woman only reported the matter to police after speaking with a friend.

The court heard the man later told police that the touches were known to be therapeutic in Europe.

Mr Hynes said the woman had been left traumatised by the event and was no long able to go to a masseuse despite still having severe pain from scoliosis.

Defence barrister Ross Summers handed to the court seven references from current clients who he said were aware of the allegations.

The references all said Pittorino did not act in a similar manner while conducting treatment.

Mr Summers said Pittorino accepted in hindsight the touches were inappropriate and consent had not been given.

Judge Helen Bowskill said the woman was in an incredibly vulnerable position.

"This young woman attended at your home," she said.

Pittorino was sentenced to 12 months jail to be wholly suspended for 18 months.

Topics:  hervey bay district court, massage, sexual assault



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