An international traveller alleging her Sydney chiropractor repeatedly sexually assaulted and touched her says she thought removing her underpants before a massage was normal practice in Australia.
The woman says Riaz Behi instructed her to remove her clothes and underpants at the start of a consultation in January 2019.
“I was shocked … but Behi told me it was necessary for my treatment,” the Japanese woman, speaking through an interpreter, told the NSW District Court on Monday.
Behi, 45, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault and eight counts of aggravated sexual touching, suggesting the incidents during 10 consultations from January to April 2019 never occurred.
“In Japan, removing pants never happened for the purpose of massaging – absolutely never happened,” the woman said.
“But, in Australia, I thought it was common to remove my underpants for the purposes of treatment so I didn’t pay much attention to it.”
The woman, who was being treated for lower back and groin pain by Behi, says she was directed to lie face down on the massage table, where the 18-year veteran chiropractor applied oil to her buttocks and began massaging.
“(His) hand touched my female genital area a number of times,” she said.
“No, I didn’t permit him to touch (that area).”
The previous session with Behi had ended with him commenting on the then-31-year-old’s cervical cancer scar, which ran from her pubic area to her naval, the jury was told.
Unsure of the exact words used, the woman said the specialist had told her “the treatment would change” from the next session.
The woman abided by Behi’s instruction in the next session, not wanting to interfere with the treatment she’d been told would “work better this way”.
“So I thought everything was just right and I accept it all.”
She later asked an Australian friend about the underwear removal.
“In my understanding, (he said) something like ‘Behi is a medical doctor and he has good reviews, why don’t you trust him?'” she said.
Returning for another consultation days later, she says Behi specifically massaged her genitals.
“I wanted to ask him why, why are you touching those areas … but I could not ask him those questions in English,” she said, adding she thought he was a medical doctor and it was part of his medical practice.
“I didn’t want to be rude to a medical doctor.”
The Crown alleges Behi’s assaults included episodes of digital penetration and oral sex.
The trial has heard the woman mostly communicated with Behi and her friend through Google Translate.
The chiropractor agrees none of the touching alleged by the woman constitutes appropriate chiropractic treatment.
The jury has been told a live issue will be why the woman kept returning for treatment if such “horrendous things” were happening.
“No one in the circumstances outlined by the Crown would dare be putting up with that kind of treatment,” Behi’s barrister, William Brewer, has told the jury.
Mr Brewer says his client has never had a personal or professional complaint against him in 18 years of practice.
The trial continues.