Michael Lousada: Therapist denies raping client during session

A therapist accused of raping a client during a therapy session repeatedly received "clear verbal consent" for his actions, the High Court has heard.

Michael Lousada, 57, is being sued by Ella Janneh over claims he raped and sexually assaulted her at his clinic in Belsize Park, London, in August 2016.

The court heard he said his penis was "like a laser beam" that could "burn up trauma" during the £750 session.

Ms Janneh, who has waived her anonymity, said she never consented.

Warning: This article contains details some might find distressing

The case in London has previously heard that Ms Janneh, 37, did not ask for or consent to the use of penile penetration as a "therapeutic technique".

Mr Lousada, who has appeared as a guest on the ITV show This Morning, denies the allegations stating that he repeatedly asked Ms Janneh if she wished to continue with the session.

In written evidence, he said: "Once I had entered the claimant's vagina, I did not thrust and my penis remained static, which it did for the whole act of penetration.

"I was aware that the claimant was still quite tense, although she was still engaged in the session: there was no panic or disassociation on her part.

"At several points, I asked the claimant if she wanted to continue or if she preferred to stop the process.

"Again, I only continued on receiving a clear verbal consent to continue," he wrote.

Michael Lousada wearing a furry hood and leaving the Royal Courts of Justice in London
Michael Lousada leaving the Royal Courts of Justice in London [PA Media]

Ms Janneh, told the court she had visited Mr Lousada after suffering panic attacks during consensual sex due to being abused as a child.

Ms Janneh said Mr Lousada had asked her "to be" the abused child during the session and said: "It was a retraumatisation of the original abuse."

'Reported to police'

In his witness statement, Mr Lousada said she had not disclosed that she was vulnerable due to her past abuse and that he "would not have worked with her" had this been disclosed.

Asked about a phone call she made after the incident, Ms Janneh said: "I was screaming. I was highly distressed."

She said she suffered a panic attack during the incident, leaving her unable to communicate and "incapable of providing valid and informed consent" as a result.

Ms Janneh, who now lives in Melbourne, Australia, reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police a day later, but the case was dropped in May 2018, the court heard.

High Court
[Getty Images]

Civil v criminal

Criminal and civil cases require different standards of proof, with criminal prosecutions requiring the higher standard of "beyond reasonable doubt", whereas civil cases can be ruled upon on "the balance of probabilities".

Ms Janneh only needs to prove that it was more likely than not that she did not give consent to the sexual activity, rather than prove that Mr Lousada did not reasonably believe that she did not consent.

She is now taking legal action for damages over claims of assault, trespass to the person, and negligence against Mr Lousada and Anteros Books Ltd, a company he directed.

Also in his witness statement, Mr Lousada said Ms Janneh had signed a consent form during a previous therapy session in 2012 for "full body and genital massage", but said he "'celebrated' by destroying" the document when the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would not pursue a criminal prosecution.

Barristers for Mr Lousada, who now lives in Germany, said he had previously engaged in penile penetration with about "30 to 40" clients.

The case before Mr Justice Jeremy Baker is expected to conclude on Friday.

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