Breckenridge massage sex trial: Wife testifies as trial winds down
summit daily news
BRECKENRIDGE – The local massage therapist accused of sexual assault returned to trial Monday, where his wife and a woman specializing in victim responses were among those called to testify.
Wang Kho is accused of the felony as well as misdemeanor indecent exposure and unlawful sexual contact with an 18-year-old woman during a session at his massage studio Dec. 4, 2009.
He is expected to testify Tuesday before the jury deliberates on the outcome of the week-long trial.
Jean McAllister, an expert in sexual-assault victim responses, was called Monday morning as the prosecution’s last witness. She has not interviewed the alleged victim.
Kho is accused of inserting two fingers into the alleged victim’s vagina before exposing himself and trying to initiate sex. The 18-year-old woman remained at the studio, paying the bill for a 60-minute massage along with a $10 tip, according to previous testimony.
Prosecutor Anne Francis asked McAllister of possible responses young adults might have to sexual assaults.
McAllister said victims may “try to maintain some sense of normalcy almost to convince themselves that they’re not going to be as seriously harmed as they are.”
She said children and adolescents – of ages ranging from roughly 11 to 18 – “are more likely to do what they’re told by adults.”
Kho, a Tibetan refugee whose age has been disputed, is believed to be between his late 20s and early 30s.
The 18-year-old called her sister about the alleged incident before going to her mother or law enforcement, according to previous reports.
“With adolescents, typically (we) don’t see them go to authorities as their first response,” McAllister said. “Typically, they tell someone they trust in their normal lives.”
Defense attorney Bruce Brown asked McAllister about her work serving as a victims’ advocate whose testimony has mostly been for prosecutors. McAllister said she receives $80 per hour when on the stand.
Kho’s wife, Julie Friedman, who owns the business with him, was later called to testify.
Contrary to testimony from the alleged victim’s mother, Friedman said she never told the mother she would be giving the massage. Friedman has never held a massage therapy license.
She also said the mother rushed the appointment over the phone, with phone records indicating a conversation of less than 2 minutes.
The mother – who was not at the studio Dec. 4 – has testified that she would not have sent her daughter to a male therapist.
Friedman said Monday that the business has at least 15 female therapists on call, as about 10 to 15 percent of clients request a woman.
She said that Kho gave “probably 500 to 800” massages in 2009.
This is the only known case of alleged sexual assault against him.
Anne Catura, a friend of Friedman and Kho who was visiting the day of the incident, testified to some of the events.
She said she’s received massages from Kho and that he’s never tried to touch any intimate areas; she also said she noticed no marital problems with the couple that day.
Catura said she saw Kho later Dec. 4.
“When he came home, he was looking at the ground,” she said. “He was a little confused. He didn’t really seem to understand what was going on.”
The jury includes seven women and six men, and one of the jury members is serving as an alternate.
SDN reporter Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or email@example.com.
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