Melbourne massage therapist jailed for rape and sexual assault

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Melbourne massage therapist Michael Sergides has been sentenced to five years and nine months in jail after being found guilty of rape and sexual assault by the Victorian County Court. 

Michael Sergides is two months into a sentence he received for sexually violating a female client on the massage table.

“You took advantage of her vulnerability in an entitled way that has caused deep and enduring trauma to her,” Judge Martine Marich told Sergides, 75, as he watched on a video link from prison.

“These are the types of incidents that cause concern in women that they are not safe from opportunistic sexual violation.”

The woman visited Sergides’ home on June 26, 2018, for a back and shoulder massage after her friend found his advertisement on sales website Gumtree.

The woman, aged in her 20s, said she felt frozen, worthless and empty during the massage and called her friend and her mother once she left. The woman then went straight to the police.

In an impact statement, the woman said the crimes left her lost, isolated and housebound, without anything that brought her joy. She self-harmed, her relationships with loved ones suffered and her mental health declined to diagnoses of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“He took my only reason to get up each day and my only reason to live,” she says, but that she “…decided he wouldn’t win any more … what he took from me that night I have now taken back. I have reclaimed my life,” she said.

Judge Marich accepted the victim’s evidence in finding Sergides guilty, and found there were inconsistencies between what Sergides told the woman’s friend in a phone call and his denials to police. She found he had no case to answer on two other charges.

Judge Marich acknowledged Sergides was a man of good prior behaviour and retained family support, had health problems and good rehabilitative prospects. He has already served two months.

Sergides must serve three and a half years before he is eligible for parole and is permanently banned by Victoria’s Health Complaints Commissioner from running general health services. 

Source: 9 News, The Age

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