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Former Penticton massage therapist accused of sexual misconduct fights for hearing to be public

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WARNING: This story contains details some may find disturbing. Discretion is advised.

A former massage therapist in Penticton, B.C., accused of sexual misconduct is fighting for his disciplinary hearing before the profession’s regulatory body to be held in person and to be heard in public.

According to a notice posted to the College of Massage Therapists of B.C. website, Leonard Krekic, who has practised in White Rock, Penticton and Surrey, will go before the discipline committee for a 12-day hearing, starting March 8.

The citation outlines a series of allegations raised by six women about Krekic’s actions during their massage appointments, from 2012 to 2019.

The allegations include massaging his patient’s genitalia, pressing his groin against them, placing his hands underneath a woman’s undergarment and massaging her breasts, and in one case, inserting his finger(s) into a woman’s anus “for a non-therapeutic and/or sexual purpose.”

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Krekic filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Feb. 22 requesting that the college’s decision to hold the hearing in private and over video be overturned.

Click to play video 'Former Penticton massage therapist facing new sexual misconduct allegations'

Former Penticton massage therapist facing new sexual misconduct allegations

Former Penticton massage therapist facing new sexual misconduct allegations – Jan 29, 2020

A panel of the discipline committee ruled that “holding the hearing in private would be appropriate in the circumstances of the case,” according to the court petition.

“The panel found that this approach allowed the public to scrutinize the discipline proceeding while respecting the privacy interests of the complainants and the public interest in encouraging the reporting of sexual misconduct.”

The panel pointed to the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for holding the hearing via video conference instead of in person, due to physical distancing guidelines.

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“The panel did not accept the petitioner’s submission that the ability to assess demeanor and credibility will be impaired,” the petition stated.

On Feb. 18, Krekic requested an adjournment of the hearing, pending judicial review of the decision surrounding the logistics of the hearing.

His lawyer, Scott Nicoll, noted the courts in British Columbia are still conducting trials in person and appropriate measures can be put in place to allow the hearing to proceed.

The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia declined to comment on Monday, citing ongoing legal proceedings.

Krekic resigned his registration in October 2020.

None of the allegations have been proven. Krekic is not facing any criminal charges and the BC Prosection says it has “no information to share.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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