June 17th, 2024

Massage therapist sentenced for sexual assault


By Delon Shurtz on September 18, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A former Lethbridge massage therapist who sexually assaulted a client during a massage nearly three years ago, is going to jail, but only on weekends.
Madam Justice Johnna Kubik sentenced Cyprian Mudenge Friday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench to a 90-day intermittent sentence, plus 12 months of probation.
Lethbridge lawyer Greg White had argued for the intermittent sentence, pointing out Mudenge is needed at home to care for his 14-year-old daughter, while his wife works 60 hours a week as a home care aide.
“She has to have somebody with her 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” White said of Mudenge’s daughter, who has a rare genetic condition called Phelan McDermid Syndrome.
Although the Crown recommended a regular sentence of six to 12 months in jail, White said Mudenge’s “exceptional circumstances” warrant a lesser sentence to mitigate the “collateral consequences” on his family that would result from a longer jail term.
Crown Prosecutor Ian Elford acknowledged the girl’s condition and the impact a lengthier jail sentence would have on the family, but he urged the judge not to place too much focus on the family and not enough on the seriousness of the offence and its proportionality with longer sentences given for similar crimes.
Mudenge stood trial last October and was found guilty the following month of sexually assaulting a female client during a massage Nov. 28, 2018.
During his trial, Mudenge, 56, claimed he never touched the woman inappropriately during the massage. The 36-year-old woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, testified, however, that Mudenge got too close to her breasts and inappropriately touched other parts of her body during the massage. She said she felt violated, but admitted she allowed Mudenge to continue the massage 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.
Mudenge said the woman gave him permission to move her underwear so he could 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.
Kubik ruled the woman’s testimony was believable, while Mudenge’s was not.
In addition to his jail sentence, which will be served between 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Sunday every weekend until the sentence is completed, Mudenge must also provide a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Databank, and he must register with the Sex Offender Information Registry for 20 years. He is also prohibited from possessing weapons for 10 years.

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