A woman gave evidence in the Launceston magistrates court that she was touched three times in the pubic area during a massage at a Launceston massage business.
A 41-year-old Riverside man has pleaded not guilty to a count of indecent assault on August 24, 2022.
The woman told crown prosecutor David Laws that she booked a sixty minute massage with oil because of stiffness in her back.
She had patronised the business a number of times including a previous experience with the defendant in which she felt uncomfortable because of the positioning of a towel .
She said the male defendant pulled her underwear lower than would normally be the case.
He moved from massaging her back to the legs after about 45 minutes.
She said that he began massaging her right leg starting at the calf muscle and moving up her leg into the hamstrings.
"After he had gone up my hamstring his hand slipped to a more central area and his hand went up under my underwear and touched my labia majora," she said.
She said that she thought the touch may have been an accident.
"About ten seconds later he ran his hands back up and went under my underwear," she said.
"After the second touch I knew it could not have been an accident."
She said that a further ten seconds later he touched her again under her underwear.
She had a moment of shock and then clenched her legs.
The woman said she froze and did not protest to the masseur at the time.
She told Mr Laws that she told her mother that evening and they discussed reporting the matter to police.
The woman said she reported the incident to the owner of the massage business about three weeks later.
She said the owner was visibly upset almost crying when she told him about the incident.
Defence counsel Patrick O' Halloran cross examined the complainant focusing on an apparent discrepancy between her statement and evidence in court that she received a "remedial" massage.
She said she was stressed at the time of the statement.
"I was clarifying [in her statement] anatomical terms vulva and vagina, I thought that was a more important clarification at the time," she said.
In an interview with police the defendant denied that touching of the vagina occurred.
He said there was no way he touched her by accident.
He could not remember her as a client.
The defendant denied her account saying that he never started a massage on the right leg.
"I always do the left leg and then the right leg, it is a standard procedure," he said.
He gave evidence in court via an interpreter saying that his denials in the police interview were true.
Under cross examination by Mr Laws the man gave evidence about a text exchange with the owner of the business after the complaint.
"You remember saying that customers implied that they wished you to touch them intimately?," Mr Laws asked.
"Yes," the man said.
"Is that true?," Mr Laws asked.
"Yes," the man said.
"They implied, not asked directly," Mr Laws asked.
The man said they clearly indicated the wish by body language.
"I remember on one occasion a female client put her leg outside the massage bed and she rubbed her leg against my leg, her thigh against my thigh," he said.
"Another woman lifted her entire pelvic region so I couldn't massage her and I waited for her to reposition herself," he said.
Asked how that conveyed a desire that he touch her intimately he said she had lifted her bottom up and became more and more close to him.
He said her private parts had approached his hand and then touched his hand.
The man said he could not remember when the actions happened and had not reported them to the owner at the time.
The man said that all his colleagues at the business [9 employees including the owner] had encountered this behaviour.
"It was male and female clients and includes male and female colleagues," he said.
"We all did nothing and let it pass," he said.
The court heard that the complainant was not one of the clients who expressed an implied desire for touching.
The man said he did not remember the complainant snapping her legs shut and could not remember massaging her.
Magistrate Ken Stanton remarked that it was a word on word case and adjourned the case for submissions on December 12.