John Heintzelman, 67, is accused of sexually assaulting two women at his former business, James Bay Massage. His December 2018 acquittal has been appealed in B.C. Supreme Court. (File Photo)

New trial for James Bay masseur acquitted of sexual assault

John Hentzelman, 67, will be re-tried on two counts of sexual assault

*Warning: This story may be disturbing to some readers.

A new trial has been ordered for the Victoria man accused of sexually assaulting clients during ‘hot stone therapy’ in his home basement massage facility.

In December 2018, John Heintzelman was acquitted of two counts of sexual assault after four days of evidence from complainants, who described “unwanted sexual touching” during treatments where Heintzelman rubbed hot stones on various parts of their naked bodies.

READ ALSO: Victoria massage provider acquitted of sexual assault

Heintzelman was the practitioner of a business operating under the name “James Bay Massage,” previously called “Ancient Medicine.”

Two complainants described unwanted sexual touching by Heintzelman during the initial trial. But one did not come forward with the allegations until another alleged assault was made public in October 2017, when the Victoria Police Department issued a press release asking other potential victims to come forward in connection to a case the department was investigating.

At trial, Heintzelman denied the allegations. His wife testified that she was upstairs during the treatment of the first complainant and did not hear anything “untoward.”

READ ALSO: Crown to appeal acquittal of Victoria masseur accused of sexual assault

Trial judge Ted Gouge acquitted Heintzelman, writing in his decision that he was in the position of being “unable to decide whom to believe” and therefore obliged to acquit.

Gouge said one complainant’s mental health issues made it difficult to corroborate the two stories. He also commented on the nature of VicPD’s press release, which named Heintzelman. “It would have been possible for them to test the veracity of those complaints by asking the complainants for the name of the assailant and the address where the assault took place,” said Gouge.

The Crown, however, took issue with Gouge’s assessments and successfully appealed his decision in the Supreme Court of B.C., where Justice Johnson said the trial judge gave too much weight to speculation of the complainant’s psychiatric condition and VicPD’s media release.

The date for the new trial is yet to be determined.

READ ALSO: Rogue masseur arrested for sexual assault in Victoria



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

VicPD

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay couple honoured for 35 years volunteering

Mayor awards distinguished Oak Leaf to Bert and Doris Dinsmore

Meet the Liberal candidate for Oak Bay-Gordon Head

Roxanne Helme about ‘governance, not politics’

Hospital foundation president praises generosity of Peninsula residents

Karen Morgan said support during COVID-19, financial and otherwise, has been touching

New Democrats on Saanich Peninsula still looking to announce candidate

While BC Liberals have nominated Stephen Roberts, New Democrats have not yet announced candidate

UPDATED: West Shore RCMP locate dangerous, ‘high-risk sex offender’ thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read