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'Breach of trust': B.C. masseur pleads guilty to sexual assault

The victim's living room camera showed the masseur had been touching her while she was asleep.
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A B.C. masseur has pleaded guilty to sexual assaulting a sleeping client.

A Surrey man who offered massage services pleaded guilty to sexual assault in Vancouver provincial court Dec. 1.

Judge John Milne heard that Alexander Varfolomeev, 36, had gone to a woman's Vancouver home to provide massage services in August 2019. He took a massage table with him.

The victim had found the mobile massage service through an app, which allowed her to set up the appointment, the court heard.

When he arrived, Varfolomeev set up the table in the living room. The woman's daughter was asleep in the next room.

The court heard the woman had taken some medication and fell asleep. She reported Varfolomeev was acting strangely and made odd comments about her body when she awoke, Crown prosecutor Daniel Shi said.

When she looked at images shot on a Google camera in her living room, she saw Varfolomeev had been touching her private parts while she was out.

Shi said there was an element of trust involved as she had invited him into her home for the service.

“He violated that trust,” Shi said.

Varfolomeev’s lawyer Ken Westlake said his client has been fully cooperative throughout the proceedings and wrote an apology the day after the event.

He said Varfolomeev, who holds a Russian doctorate in biochemistry, came to Canada from Siberia in 2010. Westlake said Varfolomeev had been taking massage training and wished to study osteopathy.

Varfolomeev has been unemployed for four months but has had a series of jobs, his lawyer said. He has had to move in with his parents, the court heard.

Milne sentenced Varfolomeev to a one-year conditional sentence, including six months of house arrest. He must also serve 18 months' probation.

Milne also ordered Varfolomeev not to engage in massage services or any similar occupation.

Eric Wredenhagen, CEO of the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia, confirmed Varfolomeev is neither a current or former registrant of the college.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, help is available.

  • In an emergency, call 9-1-1
  • In a crisis, call 1-800-563-0808 
  • To report a person under 19 who needs protection to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, call 310-1234 (no area code required)

You can find a full list of resources on the B.C. government’s website.

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