Massage therapist banned for spontaneous sex with client
A FEMALE massage therapist has ended up in front of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal after she had spontaneous sex with a client.
The woman was working at a rehabilitation retreat in 2014 when she met a man who was attending the facility for help with depression, anxiety, substance abuse and stress related issues.
The woman's job was to provide clients at the retreat with massages and to act as an "overnight chaperone" according to the Tribunal's finding on her conduct.
During the man's stay at the rehab facility the massage therapist agreed to meet him outside and have him around to her place for a drink.
"She admitted they spent the night together at her home and had sexual intercourse several times during the night," the Tribunal's finding read.
"The next morning at 5am she drove (the man) back to the location where they met and (the man) walked back to the facility."
The relationship then continued for some time after the man left rehab.
Then, seven months later the man phoned the Health Ombudsman and subsequently filed a written complaint.
After that the Ombudsman contacted the massage therapist and issued an order prohibiting her from: "engaging in any employment or providing any services (paid or otherwise) in a clinical or non-clinical capacity, which relates to the provision of any health service."
The woman appealed this order to QCAT arguing the sex was spontaneous and she had received counselling on why she did the wrong thing.
"In cross-examination, there was significant focus on whether the first evening together had been pre-meditated by the practitioner," the finding read.
"The Tribunal accepts the practitioner's evidence that, in agreeing to meet up with (the man), she had not intended they would spend the night together.
"The Tribunal accepts that the events which unfolded that evening were not pre-meditated by her."
However this, combined with the fact the woman stated she had learned from the incident and now realised her conduct was not appropriate, was not enough to satisfy Judge Suzanne Sheridan
"Agreeing to meet up with a client who is sneaking out of a rehabilitation facility, commencing a sexual relationship with that person and supplying alcohol to that person knowing they are struggling with substance abuse is a very serious abuse of a position of trust," Judge Sheridan wrote in her finding
"The Tribunal is not satisfied on the evidence before it that the practitioner had completed sufficient structured counselling directed to acquiring the necessary skills to ensure the maintenance of professional boundaries, particularly when treating highly vulnerable clients.
"The Tribunal is satisfied that immediate action by way of a prohibition order is necessary to protect public health and safety."