A “Christian healer” accused of sexually molesting female clients has told a jury that two of his alleged victims may have thought he was touching them indecently because of a phenomenon known as “phantom hands”.
Former traffic warden George Boak said he had been involved in healing for over 25 years and told Bradford Crown Court that he could heal patients either through treatments at his Lightcliffe home or even by sending his healing powers to them miles away.
The 70-year-old grandfather said his wife was always at home when he was dealing with clients and he told patients to tell him immediately if they were not happy about anything.
Boak accepted that he had sexually touched one woman, but claimed that he had responded to an invitation from her to be “familiar”.
But he said he stopped immediately when the woman asked what he was doing.
“I apologised because I realised I had misread the signs,” he told the jury.
Boak suggested during his evidence that two other women may have thought he was touching them intimately when he wasn’t.
“From the healing you get all sorts of sensations...you could feel my hands inside you and they might be two inches above the body,” said Boak.
But prosecutor Michael Smith submitted that his claims about “phantom hands” were a lie.
“No it’s not a lie it’s well-documented is phantom hands,” said Boak.
“This defence is a demonstration of your inability to face up to what you have done to these women,” suggested Mr Smith.
“That’s not correct,” replied Boak
The woman who first complained to the police about Boak last year told Bradford Crown Court how he had been the only person who could ease the chronic back pain she had suffered for years, but she felt uncomfortable about some of the remarks he made to her.
The complainant, who together with the other women cannot be identified for legal reasons, said Boak would tell her how attractive she was and describe her as “stunning”, but she told him to stop it because he was meant to be professional.
She said she stopped going to his home in Aysgarth Avenue for healing sessions because of the comments, but later decided to go back to him out of ‘’sheer desperation’’ to get rid of the pain.
The woman described how Boak put his hand inside her bra during the alleged sexual assault last year.
“I dragged his hand out really quickly and within seconds he’s got his hand down my leggings.” she told the jury.
She said she managed to get up and “hobble” out of the house and then contacted the police.
During his evidence Boak denied making personal comments to the woman and said he wouldn’t last long as a healer if he did.
The jury also heard from another complainant who said she had complained to police about Boak after seeing an article in the Halifax Courier about his appearance in Calderdale magistrates court last August.
She alleged that she was also molested by Boak several years ago and told the court she how she reacted when she saw the newspaper report.
“I froze really,” she said.
“It felt really horrible. It just brought it all back and I thought I need to help this lady.”
She told the jury she had not consented to Boak touching her sexually and said she did not know either of the two other complainants involved in the case.
During cross-examination by Boak’s barrister Michele Stuart-Lofthouse the woman said she had not reported the alleged assault at the time because she just wanted it to go away.
A third complainant has alleged that Boak sexually assaulted her while she was naked and undergoing treatment at his house.
Boak has denied two charges of sexual assault and one of indecent assault.
The trial continues.