British Columbia

B.C. massage therapist accused of sexual misconduct was really playing cellphone games, college says

A B.C. massage therapist suspected of masturbating during an appointment with a client has admitted he was using one hand to play games on his phone during several sessions in recent years.

Trevor Scott suspended for 10 days following investigation by College of Massage Therapists of B.C.

Massage therapist Trevor Scott played games on his phone 'to remain alert and awake' during appointments, according to the College of Massage Therapists of B.C. (Robert Short/CBC)

A B.C. massage therapist suspected of masturbating during an appointment with a client has admitted he was using one hand to play games on his phone during several sessions in recent years.

Trevor Scott of Prince George, B.C., signed two consent agreements last month with the College of Massage Therapists of B.C. agreeing to two five-day suspensions from practice, fines and investigative costs totalling $4,500, and "intensive remedial coursework" on professional ethics and boundaries, according to public notices on the college website.

He's also agreed to permanent conditions that prevent him from bringing his phone into the treatment room with him.

The college described Scott's misconduct as "serious" and said the disciplinary actions are necessary to protect public safety.

"A patient who sees his or her RMT using a mobile phone while he or she is unclothed during a massage therapy treatment is likely to become distressed and upset," the public notices say.

"In using his mobile phone during treatments of patients, Mr. Scott was not treating those patients with respect or acting in their best interests, and the effectiveness and safety of his treatments may have been compromised."

Complaints filed by two women

Scott's consent agreements are the result of complaints from two female patients who had appointments with him in the spring of 2019.

One told the college that she caught him using his cellphone during a massage; the other said she suspected he was using one hand to touch himself while she was face down on the treatment table.

Trevor Scott is suspended from practice for a total of 10 days. (Synergy Health and Wellness)

In response to the allegation of sexual misconduct, the college ordered Scott to have a chaperone present during all appointments with female patients while the complaints were under investigation. 

The college also sent in a male undercover investigator to pose as a patient, and he reported that Scott was indeed using his phone with one hand while performing a massage with the other.

"Mr. Scott had his cellular phone in his hand for a total of 15 minutes and 24 seconds of the treatment and was using it to play a game similar to Candy Crush," the public notices say.

Massage therapist admits to use of phone

Scott has since admitted to using his cellphone while providing treatment on multiple occasions in 2018 and 2019.

He said it began with messages to his front desk staff and escalated to playing games like Mahjong, solving Sudoku puzzles and fooling around with a drawing app.

"His purpose in doing so was to remain alert and awake," the notices said.

Investigators did not find any evidence that Scott was using his phone to take photos or videos of his clients.

In the case of the patient who suspected Scott of masturbating, he told the college he had no specific recollection of the incident but admitted it was possible he had been playing with his phone.

Scott has admitted that his behaviour constitutes misconduct and violates the college's ethics code. He is suspended from practising for a total of 10 days beginning on Feb. 19.

Earlier misconduct investigation

This is not the first time Scott has been under suspicion of sexual misconduct during massage treatments.

He was also accused of masturbating during a massage in 2014, but the college eventually dismissed that complaint after members of a disciplinary panel said they couldn't conclusively determine an accurate version of events.

During that investigation as well, Scott was ordered to have a chaperone present for appointments with female patients, but he challenged that condition in a case that went all the way to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

The high court found the college had the authority to impose interim conditions when someone has raised a complaint worth investigating and "where, based on the material before the inquiry committee, the public requires immediate protection."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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