A male massage therapist who molested female clients under the guise of treating them has been jailed for more than four years.
Zoran Zivanovic, 57, was today told by the sentencing judge that his assurances to six victims that his inappropriate sexual touching was a normal part of treatment were false, deceptive and designed to allow him to sexually gratify himself.
Zivanovic was convicted of 11 sex offences in October after a District Court jury found he had sexually abused the women - touching their breasts and genitals while supposedly treating ailments that ranged from buttock pain to shoulder problems.
One of the convictions was for sexual penetration without consent.
Evidence had been heard that he assured the women his actions were normal for his practise of myotherapy, telling one victim that he needed to massage her whole breast because there were nerves and muscle attachments over the entire area.
Today, Judge Stephen Scott said Zivanovic's assurances were false and deceptive and a gross breach of trust against women he knew were unfamiliar with myotherapy.
"They trusted you as they might trust a medical practitioner," Judge Scott said in jailing Zivanovic for four years and six months.
The judge said victim impact statement showed the offences had destroyed the women's sense of security in their homes - where Zivanovic had treated some of the women - and affected their relationships with their partners.
"Each of them felt violated," Judge Scott said.
The jury had heard evidence that most of the victims came forward with their complaints only after police approached them as part of an investigation that was sparked by one client.
Today, Judge Scott said it was not unusual for victims of such sex crimes to not immediately complain to police, possibly out of embarrassment and fear they would be disparaged for putting themselves into such a situation.
Prosecutor Alan Dungey submitted that Zivanovic, who still maintained his innocence, had created opportunities for his offending.
The prosecutor also warned that while the court was told Zivanovic's career was over, he was not aware of any regulatory agency that would restrain him from practising and that it was up to the public to be aware of his convictions.
The court was told Zivanovic would be placed on the sex offender register.
The Yugoslavian-born man was supported in court by his second wife who the court was told visited him twice a week in prison.
Zivanovic can apply for parole after serving two years and six months.
Det. Sgt. Travis Healy who investigated the case said a feature of the crimes was that Zivanovic preyed on the women when he was alone with them, sometimes in their own homes.
He said the case was difficult because some victims were reluctant to give evidence because of the trauma.
"At all times try to have another person present when a massage therapist is there," he warned the public.
"That was probably the key to the case is that when no one else was around is when the offences occurred."