Unlicensed Columbia massage therapist pleads guilty to sexual abuse

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A Missouri man who advertised himself as a massage therapist on Facebook has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing clients.

Sixty-eight-year-old Karl Swope pleaded guilty Wednesday to two misdemeanor counts of second-degree sexual abuse, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

The Board of Therapeutic Massage accused Swope in Aug. 2018 of inappropriately touching three women and practicing massage therapy without a license. Columbia police then interviewed two clients who said they were sexually assaulted by Swope. Court records say he had faced similar accusation in Rolla. He was charged with sex abuse in Sept. 2018.

According to court documents, the victim went to Swope’s home in April in the 2500 block of Lynwood Drive for neck and shoulder pain. She said Swope portrayed himself as a retired chiropractor, had certificates on the wall near the massage table and even provided a copy of his book, “22 Healing Acupressure Points by Karl Swope.”

The victim told police Swope asked her to disrobe to her underwear. Swope, according to the victim’s statements, then massaged the area near her breast and near her genitals repeatedly, at one point placing his hand underneath her underwear.

Swope maintained a Facebook page advertising his services as “Deep tissue muscle therapy.” His victims said he hung certificates on the wall next to his massage table, and some clients were provided a gratuitous copy of his book “22 Healing Acupressure Points by Karl Swope.”

The page has since been deactivated.

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