Victorians have been warned to beware of a message therapist accused of raping and sexually assaulting several female clients.
Massage therapist Michael Allwood has been charged with sexual offenses against eight clients, prompting Victoria’s Health Complaints Commissioner to issue a public service warning against him on Thursday.
Allwood was arrested at a business in the regional town of Maryborough, north of Melbourne, in August this year.
Police at the time alleged he assaulted two women during a massage at the Maryborough premises between January and June and was charged with two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault .
The commissioner, Assistant Professor Bernice Redley, began investigating Allwood on August 10 in light of the allegations, before receiving reports that the massage therapist was charged with sexual offenses against the other six clients.
Professor Redley slapped Allwood with an interim restraining order on August 15, noting that he traded under the names ‘Massage by Michael of Maryborough Victoria’, ‘Personal Training 1 to 1’, ‘Stronger with a Coach Personal Training” and “Body Core Flexibility”.
The restraining order prohibited him from providing general health services, including massage.
Allwood has since been slapped with another restraining order, which is due to expire in January next year.
Commissioner finds Allwood breached rules set out in Health Legislation Code of Conduct and issued warning ‘to avoid imminent and serious risk to life, health, safety or welfare public”.
While most general health service providers do the right thing, the actions of those who don’t – like Allwood – can cause serious harm to the public, the complaints commissioner said.
“That’s why it’s important that anyone considering engaging with providers such as Mr. Allwood pays close attention to what can go wrong and what they can expect from their provider. health services so that they can make informed decisions,” Professor Redley said.
The warning should serve as a reminder to all general health service providers that if they fail to follow the rules of the code of conduct, the commissioner’s office will investigate them, the commissioner said.
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