A DISGRACED masseur who betrayed the trust of vulnerable clients as they lay in a state of undress has been jailed for the second time for sexually assaulting women.

Steven Goss served a 21-month sentence following a similar conviction for identical offences after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court in August 2020.

A jury found him guilty of sexual assault offences relating to four customers at his business premises, Your Relaxing Times, in Burnopfield, near Stanley, where he offered, “holistic and beauty therapies”.

The former Royal Navy serviceman ran the business from 2014 to 2020, carrying out thousands of massages, many for sporting injuries.

He claimed any inappropriate touching of clients’ breasts, between their legs or over underwear, was accidental.

Durham Crown Court heard that following publicity of his case at Newcastle more women came forward to claim he had assaulted them in similar fashion during massages at his premises.

Goss, 54, of Mount Pleasant, Stanley, who was only released on licence from his sentence in June last year, initially denied the seven new counts of sexual touching, one penetrative, at his plea hearing in Durham on October 5.

But with a trial date set for March this year, he appeared again at the court in December, shortly before cross-examination of the complainants was to have been recorded, and changed his pleas to guilty.

Alex Burns, prosecuting, told Goss’s sentencing hearing that the offences were very similar to those at Newcastle.

The victims, who were usually alone, often responded to his Facebook adverts and after arrival at the parlour would be asked to strip naked prior to their massage.

Some refused and wore underwear, but others were covered only by towels over private areas.

Although Goss’s wife was sometimes at the premises, the therapy would be given in a locked massage room in her absence.

Mr Burns said the women variously described how he would brush his hand over their intimate areas in a whip-like motion, leaving them feeling uncomfortable and shocked.

But many were too fearful of being disbelieved, while others were embarrassed at what had taken place and chose to say nothing at the time.

Mr Burns said in one case Goss made inappropriate sexual comments, which was a feature with some of the victims in the Newcastle conviction.

"All the victims put themselves in a vulnerable position, removing their clothes, hoping to have a massage, and nothing else,” added Mr Burns.

Read more: Pervert reflexologist jailed for eight years

Tony Davis, for Goss, said that many of his customers spoke highly of Goss’s service and he also presented several character references to the court, including some from former colleagues in the Royal Navy.

Mr Davis said since his release from his first sentence, the defendant has complied with various Probation Service programmes aimed at rehabilitating him.

“This was a fulsome plea, accepting what he has done and worked to alter his overall attitude.”

Judge James Adkin said while the offences overlap those from the original conviction, Goss could have sought to have, “a clean slate”, by confessing to all the offending.

But he said it may be that Goss thought he had, “got away with” those in the more recent allegations.

Imposing a four-year sentence, Judge Adkin made Goss subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and registration as a sex offender, both for life.

Lifetime restraining orders also forbid him from contacting or approaching his victims.

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