Ex-massage therapist who molested 5 patients accused of offering services to moms on school field trip

·3 min read
Matthew Romyn has served two jail terms for sexual assault. The first followed his conviction for sexually assaulting five patients when he was a registered massage therapist. (Shutterstock/Prostock-studio - image credit)
Matthew Romyn has served two jail terms for sexual assault. The first followed his conviction for sexually assaulting five patients when he was a registered massage therapist. (Shutterstock/Prostock-studio - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains graphic details.

A former B.C. massage therapist convicted of sexually assaulting five patients, including a 16-year-old girl, is facing new legal action by the profession's regulator.

Matthew Romyn is accused of falsely advertising himself as a registered massage therapist (RMT), according to a petition filed in B.C. Supreme Court by the College of Massage Therapists.

That petition alleges that Romyn, who is from Courtenay, B.C., offered his RMT services to several moms during an elementary school field trip to a fish hatchery in October 2019, despite the fact that his licence had been cancelled for more than six years.

Two parents filed affidavits in support of the college's petition, alleging that Romyn handed out business cards and told them he charged $75 an hour.

"At the time, I found it odd that a parent would try to promote their business during a school field trip," one of those parents wrote.

A copy of the business card Romyn allegedly distributed during the field trip, describing him as a registered massage therapist, is included in the college's legal filings.

In a phone call, Romyn told CBC News he denies the college's allegations, but declined to comment further. He has yet to file a response to the petition.

Recently jailed again for sexual assault

Romyn was recently released from jail and is serving probation following another sexual assault conviction.

He pleaded guilty to one count in April of this year and was sentenced to nine months behind bars, according to the provincial court registry.

Few details are publicly available about that case, and Romyn declined to comment further on what happened.

Romyn's first stint in jail came after he was convicted on five charges in 2013 for molesting patients, including one minor.

Matthew Romyn/Facebook
Matthew Romyn/Facebook

According to a 2015 disciplinary decision from the college, Romyn touched his patients' breasts while massaging their necks, and didn't stop even when they crossed their arms to protect themselves.

He also repeatedly touched the genitals of some of the victims, including the 16-year-old, and lifted the teenager's covering sheet to look at her body.

Four of the victims filed formal complaints against Romyn with the college. His registration was cancelled prior to the convictions as a result of unpaid fees, but a college disciplinary panel also issued a reprimand and fined him $25,000 for professional misconduct.

'Not inclined to take complete responsibility'

The college's discipline decision says that after his first release from jail, Romyn had trouble making ends meet.

He was working part-time as a pizza delivery driver, but was also still giving unlicensed massages. He maintained he was only treating men after giving them "full disclosure" of his criminal convictions.

The decision goes on to say that members of the disciplinary panel were "somewhat troubled" by Romyn's statements during their hearings, including his contention that the college hadn't acted quickly enough when it received the first complaint about his sexual misconduct.

"His suggestion appeared to be that, had the college acted more quickly in response to the initial complaint in February 2011, he might not have committed the further assaults that took place in December 2011," the decision says.

Members of the disciplinary panel noted that Romyn didn't say anything to suggest he had considered how his actions had affected the vulnerable women and teenage girl he'd assaulted.

"The panel was unable to avoid the impression that the former registrant was not inclined to take complete responsibility either for his own conduct or for the effect of that conduct on the complainants," the decision says.

The allegations in the college's petition have not been proven in court.

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