Home National Police officer tells massage therapist ‘happy endings’ are ‘part of the business’

Police officer tells massage therapist ‘happy endings’ are ‘part of the business’

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Montreal woman eventually files report after first officer seemed to try to dissuade her from doing so

A West Island registered massage therapist is urging Montreal police to examine how they handle complaints of unwanted sexual behaviour after an officer seemed to try to dissuade her from filing a report and repeatedly told her to not be “emotional.”

Claudia Cavaliere, 20, was a few months out of massage therapy school when she found herself alone in a room with a client at a spa on St-Charles Boulevard last month, and in a situation that quickly degenerated.

She said she was massaging the middle-aged man’s leg when he started grinding his pelvis on the table. She said he then turned over and masturbated in front of her. He said nothing to her except to demand a tissue.

“I didn’t know what to do. I just froze,” she said. Eventually, she backed out of the room and was intercepted by a colleague who moved her into another massage room and told the client to leave.

“I couldn’t speak. I was hyperventilating. I was crying. I was sitting on the floor in the corner of the room, panicking,” Cavaliere said.

The man gave a fake name and a phony phone number, she later learned, and he didn’t park in the spa’s lot.

‘My safety is at risk’

She said the traumatic incident was compounded by the reception at Montreal police’s Kirkland detachment as she tried to file a complaint.

Cavaliere said she expected to hear what had happened to her was not acceptable and police would look into it, but that she felt an officer just tried to dissuade her from making a report.

“He was like, ‘Well, you know, you have to get ready to appear in court. Do you really want to do that?'” she said.

“Of course I want to do this. My safety is at risk, and other massage therapists’ safety is at risk, and other women’s safety is at risk.… Nobody is safe if people are walking in the streets thinking it’s OK to have this kind of behaviour in a public space.”

After first describing the incident and feeling uncomfortable, Cavaliere said she started recording her conversation with the officer with her phone in her pocket.

In the eight-minute recording, the officer repeatedly tells Cavaliere how it will be next to impossible to identify the man, that there will be no investigation if he cannot be identified and that what she encountered is “part of the business.”

The officer also tells Cavaliere the incident isn’t considered a sexual offence and, because the client did not demand she do anything or touch her, any conviction wouldn’t result in “a harsh punishment,” but a $500 fine.

He tells her that her spa, which also offers services such as manicures and waxing, is on a stretch of road where “there’s a lot of happy endings.”

“There’s a lot of weirdos out there,” the officer tells her. “I’m saying, be prepared to have weirdos. You will have weirdos. That’s the nature of the business. Unfortunately, that’s what happens. I just don’t want you to get emotional because you have weirdos out there.”

Cavaliere left the station with the form on which to write her statement. But the incident left her questioning whether her concerns were valid and if she should bother going through with her complaint.

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