A Sydney chiropractor has been jailed for at least five years and six months for repeatedly sexually assaulting a Japanese patient who sought treatment for her lower back and groin pain.
Riaz Behi, 47, was convicted by a jury at his second trial of 13 charges including aggravated sexual touching and aggravated sexual assault of a person under his authority.
Judge Sarah Huggett in the NSW District Court on Monday sentenced Behi to a full term of nine years in prison.
Over the course of 17 appointments in early 2019, the practitioner assaulted the then-31-year-old woman in the treatment rooms of The Back Guys practice in Sydney's CBD.
During the tourist's first consultation, Behi pulled the woman's underpants down exposing her buttocks completely, she said in evidence through an interpreter.
She came to believe removing underpants before a massage was normal practice in Australia, saying it absolutely never happened before an appointment in Japan.
He progressed from massaging her buttocks to brushing his hands near her genitals until the eighth appointment when she had fallen asleep and was startled awake by his finger inside her, she told the court.
The woman tearfully told the court she booked another appointment after the assault because she thought she would be in trouble if she left without an appointment.
She had earlier been advised by a friend that Behi was a medical doctor with good reviews, and did not want to be rude to him.
At another appointment, she was again directed to undress and felt Behi's hands close to her anus and vagina when she felt pain inside and "froze" unable to speak.
Behi asked her "how do you feel?", prompting the woman to shake her head and say "no".
"At some point, he asked 'do you want me to stop' and she said 'yes, yes, yes'."
Behi used Google Translate to communicate with the woman who told him that she wanted a regular massage and for him to never do that again.
The woman said she continued going back as the massages in other areas had reduced the lower back pain she was suffering.
Behi gave evidence at his first trial in March 2021 that on the woman's 10th appointment she nervously laughed after directing his hand "south".
He claimed she motioned his hand up and down on top of her genital area for about 20 or 30 seconds, before opening her eyes and moving the towel above her nose, giggling.
"I awkwardly laughed as well ... and then repeated, 'we shouldn't have done that'," he told the court.
He denied ever inappropriately touching the woman who he said wore underpants at every session, but the jury rejected his version of events.
Behi will first be eligible for parole in September 2027.
Australian Associated Press
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