By Guest Nicole
A masseur who raped an 80-year-old woman during a massage in her Victorian home has been jailed for three years and nine months for a crime a judge described as "incomprehensible".
Malcolm Lee, 56, was hired by the woman's daughter to provide a massage therapy session for the older woman, and on April 1 attended her home and had her lie on her back, without a towel over her naked body.
Lee rubbed her legs, the County Court heard, and then digitally raped the woman, touched her breast and kissed her on the lips.
He later told police he thought the woman was consenting to what he was doing, but judge Gerard Mullaly on Friday rejected that explanation as fanciful.
Judge Mullaly said Lee's conduct was "an abhorrent violation of a vulnerable woman", and bewildering.
"Any right-minded member of the community would immediately be taken aback and ask how you could do such a thing to a vulnerable 80-year-old woman in her own home, all within an hour or so of meeting her for the first time, and all while you were there for the purpose of providing a professional massage," the judge said.
"It would have been plain to you that the massage organised by a daughter for her 80-year-old mother would be an orthodox massage.
"That is a massage performed in accordance with well-understood standards of a proper massage therapy.
"It simply would go without saying that this was not to be a massage where it would be conceivable, let alone be permitted, for you to touch the victim in any sexual way whatsoever.
"Unfortunately for the victim, and for you, inappropriately touching her was exactly what you did."
Judge Mullaly said Lee's violation left the woman stunned and frozen in fear, but that she summoned great dignity when she told him: "Thank you for what was quite a massage. Much more intimate than I expected and somewhere along the way some boundaries were crossed."
Lee later told police he believed the woman consented to what he was doing, although he also told the woman's daughter he had crossed boundaries and was sorry.
Judge Mullaly described as preposterous Lee's claim of consent.
"Rather, you touched her in the ways that you wanted because you wanted to. Simple as that," he said.
Lee, a masseur for 14 years who was registered with the national body, pleaded guilty to rape and sexual assault.
His lawyer this week called for him to be spared jail because of his mistaken belief about consent, his subsequent remorse and previous good character. He had since split from his wife and was ostracised by his family and friends in the Jehovah's Witnesses church.
But Judge Mullaly said jail was the only appropriate penalty for the "brazen" breach of trust, which had had a significant impact on the woman and her daughter.
The victim endured nightmares initially and her shock and anger had subsided into sadness and depression that had "diminished the quality of her life". The daughter felt guilt at arranging the massage, but Judge Mullaly said she was blameless and that Lee alone was responsible.
Lee must serve 2½ years before he is eligible for parole.
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