Former Saanich massage therapist pleads guilty to secretly recording four women

Massage therapist pleads

A former registered massage therapist has pleaded guilty to secretly observing and recording four women last year.

Gilles-Philippe Lavoie, known to his patients as Phil Lavoie, appeared by video in Victoria provincial court on Friday and pleaded guilty to unlawfully and surreptitiously observing or visually recording four women “where those people could be expected to be nude or to be engaged in explicit sexual activity in circumstances where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

The offences took place between March 20 and Aug. 10, 2020. The women’s identities are protected by a court order.

Crown prosecutor Joselyn Byrne asked the judge to order a presentence report with a psychological component to assist at sentencing. Lavoie will be back in court in August to confirm the reports have been completed and to set a date for sentencing.

Lavoie voluntarily resigned his registration with the College of Massage Therapists of B.C. on Aug. 28 after a complaint was made about his conduct while practising massage therapy, Eric Wredenhagen, the college’s chief executive officer, confirmed Friday.

“This is a matter which is still under investigation by the college,” said Wredenhagen. “The fact that the registrant resigns doesn’t mean we close the file if there’s a criminal proceeding.”

The college will let the matter run its course before it takes further steps because the police don’t want parallel investigations happening, explained Wredenhagen.

“They don’t want anything to compromise the criminal investigation, nor do we want that,” he said. “Once the criminal process is concluded, typically the college would review the situation and carry on with its own process.”

Disciplinary action may be imposed by the discipline committee.

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