Celebrity TV sex therapist who regressed patient into childlike state loses civil rape case

TV sex coach Mike Lousada in a youtube video series for Durex  (Durex UK/YouTube)
TV sex coach Mike Lousada in a youtube video series for Durex (Durex UK/YouTube)

The patient of a celebrity TV sex therapist has won a case over allegations he raped and sexually assaulted her during a session.

Ella Janneh, 37, has been awarded more than £200,000 in damages after she brought a suit against Mike Lousada – a prominent sex coach who has appeared on shows such as This Morning, in articles for major press outlets and in a video series on Durex’s YouTube channel.

Ms Janneh alleged in her civil suit that Lousada raped and sexually assaulted her on 18 August 2016 at his clinic in Belsize Park, during a therapy session to treat panic attacks she experienced when having consensual sex. Ms Janneh, who has waived her right to anonymity, had suffered sexual abuse as a child.

The incident was reported to the Metropolitan Police the day after. However, in May 2018, the Crown Prosecution Service informed Ms Janneh it would not be pursuing a criminal prosecution.

Ms Janneh brought a civil suit, represented by law firm Leigh Day, and a trial was held over 10 days in April and May this year.

Ella Janneh, 37, won her case against TV sex coach Lousada over allegations of rape (Leigh Day)
Ella Janneh, 37, won her case against TV sex coach Lousada over allegations of rape (Leigh Day)

In a witness statement to the court, Ms Jannah said Lousada instructed her during the session to act like a child, triggering a “full-blown panic attack” and dissociation. Lousada proceeded to penetrate her and commit several sexual assaults.

He reportedly told her: “I think we should use my penis energetically to absorb the trauma. The head of the penis can act, like a laser beam and burn up the trauma.”

It was Lousada’s claim that she had consented to the penetration, which Ms Jannah denied, and that he did not direct her to act like a child.

In a ruling on Wednesday, Mr Justice Baker said he had no doubt that Lousada instructed Ms Jannah to regress into her childlike state before touching her. He said this caused a dissociated state such that when Lousada suggested he would penetrate her vagina with his penis, she lacked the capacity to consent.

The judgment said: “I have no doubt that during the latter part of the session, the defendant did instruct the claimant to regress into her childhood state of being an abused child, after which he touched her in various ways, including kissing and essentially fondling her body, causing her to become dissociated.”

Mr Justice Barker said he had “no doubt” that what Ms Jannah had said in her police interviews in 2016 was a “truthful factual account of what had taken place”.

He said: “I consider that an award of general damages of £105,000 is justified in this case.”

According to the judgment, in 2013 Lousada formed a voluntary professional body called the Association of Somatic and Integrative Sexologists (ASIS) to create ethical codes for those carrying out what he called “psychosexual somatic therapy”.

Mr Justice Baker found Lousada, who is still able to practise, failed to inform his clients that he did not adhere to those codes.

He added: “Having listened with care to the defendant giving evidence in this case, I am satisfied that the scale of his confidence in his own abilities was such that his perception of reality became clouded by his sense of self-worth.”

In a civil case the claimant has to satisfy a lower standard of proof than in a criminal one. A civil case requires the claimant to prove their case “on the balance of probabilities”, rather than “beyond reasonable doubt”.

Following the ruling, Catriona Rubens, from Leigh Day, said: “This judgment is a resounding victory for my client Ella Janneh, who has fought tirelessly to seek justice for Mr Lousada’s rape and sexual assault of her in the name of ‘therapy’.

“Serious questions now need to be asked of the system: the police, the CPS, and the fact that therapists like Mike Lousada can act outside any form of regulatory or ethical framework.

“It must not be left to survivors like Ella to fight individual civil claims, at huge personal cost, in order to bring sexual violence and abuse of power to light.”

Following the court ruling, Lousada said in a statement: “I have told both the police and the court what happened that day, and you will appreciate that I am very disappointed that my evidence has been rejected.

“I no longer engage in this sort of work and have not done so since the incident in question. I was seeking to help Ms Janneh and never intended to cause her any harm. I have always regretted the outcome and the effects on her, and I wish her well for the future.”

Reckitt which owns Durex “Michael Lousada was featured in a series of videos for Durex on YouTube in 2021, which are no longer on our channel. As a responsible organisation, we do not condone any form of sexual misconduct.” The videos in question were still on the You Tube channel as of Wednesday morning prior to The Independent approaching Reckitt for comment.

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk. If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673).

This story was updated at 12:19 on 6 June with a comment from Reckitt.