Sports therapist cleared of sexually assaulting female client
A SPORTS therapist has today been cleared of sexually assaulting a female client while giving her a massage.
It took a jury less than an hour of acquit Kenneth Costanza-Brown, 49, of molesting the woman during a one hour massage session to treat her for a bad back.
The woman claimed Mr Costanza-Brown touched her inappropriately as she lay on his treatment table.
She also alleged that he massaged her breasts for between 20-30 minutes, touching her nipples throughout the process.
And she said he kissed her three times on the head and once on the cheek and told her "You can come back."
But Mr Costanza-Brown, a dad of three with no previous convictions, denied acting improperly - and claimed the woman became flirtatious with him.
After he was cleared it emerged that the three day trial will leave him thousands of pounds out of pocket because he paid privately for his defence and under new rules will not be entitled to claim the money back.
All he will get is the cost of the pre-trial proceedings in the magistrates court, mileage for travel to and from the crown court,, and a lunch allowance of £4.25 a day for the three day trial.
Yet if he had been on Legal Aid and had paid contributions to his defence costs he would have had all the money refunded - plus 2 percent interest.
His lawyers said after the case that the situation was 'totally unfair and unjust' and resulted from cost-saving legislation.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC said "So a man who may be falsely accused undergoes a trial, paying for his own defence, and having been acquitted still has to pay a large some of money because of legislation brought in by this Parliament."
But despite the financial cost Mr Costanza-Brown said outside court that his only concern was that 'justice has been done.'
"I know it willl cost me a lot but I am just glad it's over and I can move on," said Mr Costanza-Brown, a qualified therapist who operates from a converted garage in the grounds of his home in Pegasus Gardens, Quedgeley, Glos.
In evidence he told the jury that the woman arrived for her second massage on January 12th this year and stripped to her bra and pants at his request.
He first massaged her back, during which she took off her bra, and then her front - but she had a towel over her for modesty and he did not touch her breasts or put his hands inside her knickers, he said.
"I did not touch her nipples. I did not touch her in a sexual way at any time," he said. "
Towards the end of the massage the woman became 'flirtatious' and asked him 'Doing massage - does this not turn you on?' he said He told the jury he replied that it only turned him on with his wife.
"I felt uncomfortable and thought the quicker I got on with this the better," he said. "I wondered how her partner would react if he knew she was talking to me like that.
"The session came to an end and she jumped off the couch saying 'What's wrong with my body?'
"I said 'there's nothing wrong with your body.' "Her towel had come off when she jumped from the couch and she stood there freely in front of me. She just had her knickers on.
"She said 'I know I've got a bit of a mid section' and I said 'There's nothing wrong with your body.' I was basically becoming very uncomfortable.
"I turned my back on her but she kept going on. I went to leave the room. I actually didn't leave but I should have done.
"She said 'What about some personal training?' I kept my back to her and she continued to get dressed.'
"When she was dressed I said 'OK I will give you some exercises for stretching your hamstrings out.'"
The woman paid him £35 for the session and was smiling and waving as she left, he added.
The court heard that soon afterwards, the woman began texting Costanza-Brown complaining about him massaging her breasts and touching her pubic area.
But he told the court he regarded the texts as a 'wind-up' and did not read them properly because of his mild dyslexia.
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