Sex-assault therapist spared prison
A HERBAL medicine practitioner who groped a female patient has escaped jail after a court was told of the financial hardship his crime had caused for his family.
Hong Wei Dong, 51, touched the victim’s chest and performed a sex act as she lay on a bed in a darkened room at the health shop in Swindon town centre.
Dong, who worked at Herbal Shop, in Fleet Street, also made sexual remarks to the woman.
During her second visit in January he left her in the dark after administering the therapy, before returning to remove the needles and massage her from the head down.
He then groped the woman in the chest area and asked: “Can I kiss you?”
She noticed he had taken one hand off her body and was shaking with his belt loosened around his trousers. The woman told Dong to leave and left the shop in a hurry after pulling her clothes on.
Dong, who lives at the shop with his wife and daughter, was found guilty of sexual assault earlier this month. At Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday, prosecutor Michelle Hewitt read an impact statement from the victim, who had been suffering from stress.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “As a result of what happened I feel much worse. I can’t even think about going back to work. “I have had my medication changed and I now see my GP every two weeks. The male who did this took advantage of me when I was at a very low point in my life. He shouldn’t be allowed to treat anyone.
“No one should have to suffer what happened to me that day. Who knows what would have happened if I was in a relaxed state and fell asleep.
“I dread to think. It’s knocked my confidence and I don’t like going anywhere on my own and I don’t like going anywhere new.”
The court was told that Dong, of previous good character, faced extreme difficulty having to provide for his wife and two children without his work as a herbal therapist.
Richard Lister, defending, said his client had not had any previous complaints after starting work as a therapist in the country six years ago and while unpleasant, the incident had been short-lived. He told the court: “The finding of guilty in this case effectively meant that this gentleman whose income was modest to start with has been financially ruined.”
Dong was given a sentence of four weeks suspended for the next two years, prohibited from working in herbal medicine, massage or acupuncture within that time and ordered to sign on to the sex offenders’ register for the next seven years.