Accountant turned masseur admits assault

·2-min read

An accountant who offered massages after losing his job during the COVID-19 pandemic claimed to be a qualified therapist but only to meet the requirements of his online advert.

Abhishek Kumar Shaw admitted sexually assaulting a client during a massage in her home in 2020 after she requested his services.

His advertisement claimed the now-41-year-old had relevant qualifications, but Shaw said they were included as required by Gumtree, a Brisbane court was told on Wednesday.

Instead he has a masters degree in accounting, finance and management.

Shaw had worked as an accountant, but advertised himself as a masseur after losing his job.

He went to the woman's home in April 2020 when she requested a two-hour full body massage.

When the father-of-one arrived the woman asked for the service to focus on her lower legs, arms and hands.

She had immediately noticed he lacked skill as a masseur but did not say anything as she was embarrassed for him.

When Shaw massaged her buttocks, thighs and hips the woman feared for her safety and requested he massage elsewhere.

He also touched her vagina, including under her underwear.

The court was told he immediately desisted the inappropriate touching when told by the woman to stop.

During a police-arranged phone call after the sexual assault Shaw denied any wrongdoing, but apologised to the woman for any discomfort or offence he caused.

He was due to stand trial after the woman testified during a committal hearing before agreeing to plead guilty.

The court heard Shaw came from India to study in Australia in 2008 before obtaining his citizenship about a decade later.

Brisbane District Court Judge Ken Barlow said Shaw had no criminal history and written a letter of apology to the woman, who was expecting to have a professional masseur provide services safely and respectfully in her home.

"I've seen some references that indicate you are highly regarded by friends and people who work with you," he told Shaw during sentencing.

His history included volunteering at a charity for people with disability.

"What you did on this occasion does seem to be out of character, but it was a serious offence," Judge Barlow added.

"Sexual assault anytime, whether or not involving force, is a serious offence."

Shaw has returned to work as an accountant while his pregnant wife is the primary carer of their two-year-old son.

Judge Barlow sentenced Shaw to six months behind bars, fully suspended for one year.