A spiritual healer who denies groping three of his patients apologised to one alleged victim, telling her he had “got carried away”, a court heard.
George Boak, 70, of Aysgarth Avenue, Lighcliffe, told his clients that his treatments worked by hovering his hands above their body and occasionally touching them - but two of his former patients allege that he put his hands under their clothes and touched them inappropriately.
A court heard another former patient, who agreed to be naked in the healing sessions - because Boak said her treatment would be more effective if she took her clothes off - claims he groped her and kissed her breasts, before saying “Sorry, I got carried away”.
The jury at Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday (Mon) that Boak denies two counts of sexual assault and one of indecent assault - admitting that he did touch one of the women but thought she was consenting. He denies touching the other two women in the manner alleged.
Michael Smith, prosecuting, told the jury: “The defendant operated as a healer. The crown say the counts were committed against three women when they were the defendant’s patients.
“He would sexually touch them when they went to him for treatment for chronic pain.”
The prosecutor told how the first complainant was referred to Boak as she had chronic back pain.
For the first hour of her treatment she would lie on her front while the defendant put his hands on her, moving progressively along her body, and for the second hour she would lie on her back while he did the same on her front - “avoiding the intimate areas”, Mr Smith told the jury.
While the alleged victim acknowledges his treatment did work at first, she claims she was disconcerted by Boak’s behaviour towards her - complaining that he would tell her she was “stunning” and “beautiful”.
The court heard she felt uncomfortable and stopped visiting Boak for a while, but in 2012 went back because of her chronic back problem.
“On her last appointment she says the defendant put his hands down her T-shirt onto her breasts and pushed his groin against her,” Mr Smith said.
“He then put his fingers down her leggings and under her underwear. Then when she tried to get up he kissed her on her stomach.”
The complainant reported the incident to the police in March 2012, and Boak was arrested, denying the allegation.
The court heard as part of their investigations, police seized his diary and contacted some of his other clients - which is how they uncovered the second complainant.
“When (an officer) told the second complainant the defendant was under investigation, she said she knew what it was about, and said she had been sexually assaulted by him some years ago,” Mr Smith said.
The second complainant had first visited Boak with her husband, and the couple would have treatment together.
“In due course the defendant suggested the best way of her treatment would be for her to be naked,” said Mr Smith.
“Because her husband was present she agreed to receive the treatment naked from the defendant.
“The defendant touched her breasts and genital area in a way that was never sexually suggestive to her with the flat of his hand.”
At a later stage, the complainant went to see the defendant without her husband.
“She did come to notice that the defendant was touching her genitals more than he had before,” the prosecutor told the jury.
“She said words to the effect of ‘George what are you doing?’, and he said ‘Sorry I got carried away’.”
Although the complainant told her husband about the incident, she never reported it to the police, believing she had been “gullible”, Mr Smith said.
The defendant was arrested again after the second allegation came to light.
He admitted he had touched her in the manner alleged but said she had said to him words to the effect of “give it to me George”, so he touched her sexually because he thought that was what she was asking for, the court heard.
Boak, of Halifax, West Yorks., was charged with sexually abusing the two women, and appeared in court, Mr Smith said.
A third complainant came forward after reading an article about Boak’s court appearance in the local paper.
She told the police how he had put his hands down the front of her trousers and groped her, but then continued on with the treatment as if nothing had happened.
The alleged victim went home and told her husband and never returned for treatment again, the court heard.
The trial continues