'I was really scared': Regulator investigating 'very troubling' allegations against Victoria massage therapist
VICTORIA -- A Victoria massage therapist with over 20 years in business suddenly stopped offering his services after disturbing allegations surfaced against him this week.
Barbara Hayward told CTV News Vancouver Island she purchased two Groupon massages from Paul Christopher. She visited him for a massage at a building on Camosun Street and said the first treatment was fine.
“He stuck strictly to my neck and my back, which was the areas I was complaining about,” said Hayward.
On Saturday, she went for her second appointment and said it turned weird.
During the massage, Hayward said she became uncomfortable when Christopher asked her for advice on his online dating profile.
“He started saying he liked bigger women and he wasn’t looking for sex in these dating profiles but he was having a hard time not coming off needy,” she said.
At one point during the massage, she claims he pulled her to the side of the table and would put his hands near her breasts and was trying to “roll her” as if to “pull it out.”
She said this is when she noticed him getting close to her body during the massage.
“He was getting really close to my body and like I could feel chest hair almost as he was rubbing up and down my back,” said Hayward.
Hayward said this is when she started to get anxious and "fidgety.”
“He started to make advancements that did not happen at the initial massage,” she said. “I started to hear even more weird noises, clothes were ruffling and then I heard a zipper.”
That is when she says she tried to get up from the massage table but her head was pushed back down.
“His shirt was completely unbuttoned and his pants were unzipped and they were… coming down,” she said. “When I got up from the table it just happened really quickly. He had his hand in his pants. When I got up and he turned around, he physically took his hand out of his pants.”
Hayward said she was able to push him out of the room, lock the door and call police. She told CTV News that she then sneaked out a backdoor and ran onto the street with no shoes on.
CTV News Vancouver Island visited the location where Christopher worked but he was not there. We also tried to reach him by phone and email, but he did not return our request for comment.
Christopher has been licensed as a registered massage therapist since 1998, according to the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia.
“The allegations are very troubling, obviously something the college takes very seriously,” said Eric Wredenhagen, CEO of the college.
The college said it is investigating after a formal complaint was made against Christopher.
By Sunday night, Christopher’s website said he has retired and, according to Wredenhagen, he has officially resigned.
Victoria Police would not confirm if Christopher was arrested or if charges have been laid, but Hayward said she was told by police he was arrested on Saturday night.
“I just needed to get help and that I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” said Hayward. “I was really scared.”
She hopes by speaking out it will help others come forward and stop it from happening ever again.
The allegations against Christopher have not been proven in court.