January 18th, 2021

Sentencing delayed to March in sexual assault case


By Delon Shurtz on December 16, 2020.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A sentencing hearing for a Lethbridge massage therapist found guilty of sexually assaulting a female client two years ago has been adjourned for several months.
Cyprian Mudenge is scheduled to have his sentencing hearing March 22 in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench. The hearing was set earlier this week in a Lethbridge courtroom, where the case was briefly spoken to and the judge was told the Crown and defence are still waiting for a pre-sentence report to assist in sentencing.
Madam Justice Johnna Kubik found Mudenge guilty Nov. 23 of one count of sexual assault, and said the massage therapist’s testimony at trial was not believable, while the victim’s evidence was.
During his trial in October, Mudenge, 55, claimed he never touched the woman inappropriately during a massage Nov. 28, 2018.
The 36-year-old woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, testified, however, that Mudenge got too close to her breasts and touched her vagina and bottom during the massage. She said she felt violated, but admitted she allowed Mudenge to continue the massage for some time before she ended the session, just in case she was mistaken or the inappropriate contact was accidental.
“I was in shock and I was too scared to say anything,” the woman told court.
She finally ended the massage after Mudenge fully exposed her left buttock and touched her vagina beneath her underwear, she testified.
During his own testimony, Mudenge said the woman gave him permission to slide her underwear over slightly to massage her glutes and give her a “skin-on-skin” massage to better reach the piriformis muscle located deep in the buttocks. He said her body, except where he was specifically massaging, was always covered by a sheet, and he never massaged beneath her underwear or touched her inappropriately.
Following the judge’s finding of guilt, the matter was adjourned for two days, when Lethbridge lawyer Greg White requested a pre-sentence report for his client. A pre-sentence report typically presents the judge and lawyers with an offender’s personal information, history and circumstances to help determine a fit sentence.
In the meantime, Mudenge remains under court-ordered release conditions, and is not allowed to have or apply for a passport.

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