Posed as Massage Therapy Student: Foot fetishist Rubbed His Balls on Women’s Feet

from www.thechronicleherald.ca – A Nova Scotia man’s foot fetish apparently knows no borders.

Michael Fells, who posed as a massage therapy student to persuade at least five women in the Halifax area to let him rub their feet back in 2007, has been charged with a similar offence in Hamilton, Ont.

Police in Hamilton say Mr. Fells, who has been going by the names Tyrone, Ty, MJ and Matthew, has been telling women there that he needs volunteer hours to complete a massage therapy program.

In one case, police say a woman was sexually assaulted.

Mr. Fells, 27, is in custody there on a charge of sexual assault.

Police believe he’s been in the Hamilton area since August and that there are other alleged victims.

Mr. Fells was sentenced in Halifax provincial court in April 2008 to two years less a day in jail for sexual assault, seven counts of common assault and single counts of fraud and breaching probation.

Judge Michael Sherar also placed him on probation for three years and ordered him to take part in assessment and counselling for sexual deviancy.

A psycho-sexual assessment prepared for Mr. Fells’s sentencing said he posed a medium to high risk to commit further offences, perhaps with violence.

Court records indicate he was released from the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth just over two months ago, on Aug. 27.

Rick Woodburn, the Halifax Crown attorney who prosecuted Mr. Fells, said Wednesday the allegations in Ontario “are no surprise to me. Maybe they are to some people, but not to me.”

“It’s almost the exact same MO as here, right down to the names he used, Tyrone and Matthew,” Mr. Woodburn said.

“All the concerns that were raised about Mr. Fells at his sentencing … have come to full fruition as far as the Crown is concerned.”

Mr. Woodburn said Mr. Fells’s willingness to do whatever it takes to satisfy his foot fetish is nothing to joke about.

“Some individuals have certain fetishes and psychologically can’t move away from them,” the prosecutor said. “This is one of those individuals and he obviously hasn’t gotten the help that he needs.”

Mr. Fells also has charges outstanding in New Brunswick for allegedly assaulting children.

In May and June of 2007, Mr. Fells assaulted five women in Halifax and Dartmouth. He told each woman that he was studying for a career in reflexology or massage therapy and needed to practise his skills on volunteers.

In each case, he got the victim to lie on the floor on her back or stomach while he lay perpendicular to her, with her feet near his midsection.

The woman he was convicted of sexually assaulting said that midway through the massage he began rubbing his genitals against her feet.

After his trial on two of the charges was reported in The Chronicle Herald in January 2008, three other women came forward to say they were assaulted in a similar fashion in Digby in 2004.

Mr. Woodburn, in his sentencing submission, said one of the victims referred to Mr. Fells’s actions as a crime against the community. Another woman said the incident left her “less willing to help out my fellow man.”

None of the women should feel embarrassed about being fooled by Mr. Fells, the prosecutor told the court. “The only one who should be embarrassed is Mr. Fells.”

Mr. Fells, given the opportunity to address the court, said, “I’m not a creep.”

He accepted responsibility for misrepresenting himself to the women but denied committing the sexual assault. He said he wished he had testified at trial to give his side of the story.

“It makes me look like a more horrible person than I really am,” Mr. Fells said.

Judge Sherar said there’s nothing wrong with two consenting adults indulging a sexual fetish, but he emphasized that wasn’t the case with Mr. Fells and his victims.

“What we have before the court is a series of incidents extending over two particular years where Mr. Fells lied to people,” Judge Sherar said.

“He tried to convince them, quite glibly and articulately, that he was going to treat them professionally, that he was a student of reflexology.

“Those persons accepted him at face value, let him into their homes or accompanied him to other places. They were duped. They were lied to.”

The National Parole Board denied Mr. Fells an early release in August 2008, saying he minimized the charges against him and hadn’t done much to ascertain what triggered his misbehaviour.

The parole board said Mr. Fells had incurred eight institutional charges during his time behind bars, for matters such as assaulting another inmate, bullying, having pills in his possession and being in other inmates’ cells.

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