Breckenridge massage therapist sentenced to four years’ probation
December 15, 2015
A former Breckenridge massage therapist was sentenced to four years of probation and 75 days in jail after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual contact, a class-four felony. James Dickerson, 31, was arrested in August 2014 after a client at a spa reported he had fondled her.
After a mistrial, Dickerson pleaded guilty to the felony charge in addition to criminal invasion of privacy for sexual gratification, a class-one misdemeanor, in October 2015.
"This is an egregious offense, Mr. Dickerson, because it's a sexual offense in a position of trust," Fifth Judicial District Judge Karen Romeo said on Monday. "(Massage) is meant to be a healing act, and the fact is there's been a great deal of damage done."
Dickerson received his massage therapist license from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) in 2012. Just a year later, according the Fifth Judicial District Attorney's Office, a complaint was filed against him while he worked at Massage Envy in Castle Rock.
According to the woman's letter, he not only touched her in a sexual manner, but also made inappropriate comments including, "I have to get a piece of that."
He resigned after the woman submitted the complaint to Massage Envy, but the incident was not reported to police, and he retained his license.
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Breckenridge Police received a complaint about him in 2014, after another woman reported he had touched her inappropriately during a massage.
"Based on his calculated behavior during his assault on me, I came to believe he had done this many times before," the woman wrote in a letter addressed to the court. "Please understand it is my sincerest wish that no other woman would have to live with the consequences I have lived with since this assault."
PLEADING FOR PROBATION
According to Colorado law, class-four felony sex offenders face a sentence range of two years in prison to life. However, under the terms of the deferred judgment offered in a plea agreement after the mistrial, the felony will stay off Dickerson's record if he successfully completes four years of probation.
"It was a professional service that was supposed to be rendered," Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown said. "He must understand the full consequences if he were to engage in this conduct again."
The probation terms include sex offense specific therapy, regular polygraph tests, no contact with the victim or minors, registering as a sex offender and several other requirements.
Dickerson is also forbidden from practicing massage therapy, and his license was revoked. He will also be responsible for paying $189 in restitution to the victim. If he violates probation terms, he will face the felony sentence.
"This is the toughest probation the state of Colorado offers," Denver-based criminal defense attorney Robert Grossman said. "It's just not right to ask for less with the magnitude of the conduct and the effect it had on the victims; I think it's appropriate."
"I don't know if an apology is necessarily enough," Dickerson said before the court. "The amount of regret and sadness I feel from putting somebody and their family through this — I'm very, very sorry."
Grossman added that the defendant took full responsibility for his behavior once he had the opportunity.
"James has never denied to me what he has done or his willingness to take responsibility," he said. "When the case proceeded to a jury trial, it was because no plea bargain was offered."
Romeo disagreed with this statement, noting that Dickerson had the chance to take responsibility when police interviewed him.
"There's a lasting, lasting impact on the victim and allegedly another victim," she said. "Clearly there's an issue. Clearly you need to learn … I hope you take full advantage of this opportunity."
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