true crime

Massage therapist pleads guilty to sexual assault of clients, including 5 children, at Brisbane practice.

By Louisa Rebgetz

A massage therapist sexually assaulted more than 20 clients at his business on Brisbane’s southside, including five children and 16 women, two of whom were intellectually impaired, a court has heard.

Samuel Joseph MacBean, 43, pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court to a string of charges, including eight counts of indecent treatment of a child, 12 counts of sexual assault, and one count of rape.

The abuse took place at his Moorooka therapeutic massage business between 2009 and 2013.

He also pleaded guilty to 22 counts observations of recordings in breach of privacy and one count of carrying on regulated business without a blue card.

The court heard MacBean would touch the women and girls inappropriately, on occasions when their parents were in the room.

Prosecutor Amelia Loode said he would secretly film the women and children undressing and would often smile at the camera while offending.

He also told the girls to use cream after the massage, which he would strategically place next to the camera.

Ms Loode described the offending as “systematic” and “premeditative”.

“It represents a significant breach of trust,” she told the court.

“An example of the brazenness of his offending is represented by those occasions where he offended with the parents of the underage children present in the room.”

‘Consumed by the humiliation’, victim says

One victim read out a victim impact statement in court during the sentencing hearing.

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She said MacBean appeared “trustworthy” and when he inappropriately touched her, she thought he was doing his job.

When she found out she had been abused, her trust in the medical profession was undermined.

“My entire body and soul crumbled, I felt like a child again — I am consumed by the humiliation,” she said.

She told the court she had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and suffered from panic attacks.

She also struggled with surveillance cameras and people photographing her without permission.

“He deceived me into thinking that what he was doing was the right thing,” she said.

“I have lost the confidence and trust in people that I will never be able to regain.”

She said she hoped he received a long sentence.

Apology given to victims

Defence lawyer Eoin MacGiolla Ri apologised to the victims on behalf of his client.

“Your Honour, I’m instructed to apologise and apologise publicly to all the complainants in this matter,” he said.

He told the court his client felt remorse and his mental health had deteriorated over time.

Mr MacGiolla Ri told the court MacBean was subjected to sustained sexual abuse at the age of six.

Chief Judge Kerry O’Brien adjourned the sentencing hearing until April 29.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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