A WOMAN who was filmed undressing by a former police officer turned massage therapist feels “betrayed and violated”, a court has heard.
Drew Cooper, of Greenhill Drive, Ballymoney, admitted two counts of sexual assault in February and April 2016.
He also admitted one count of recording a person doing a private act, between May 2015 and January 2016.
Antrim Crown Court heard Cooper had been a serving officer at the time.
During this time he was retraining as a masseur.
For the filming offence, Cooper was sentenced to eight months in prison and he was given 10 months concurrent for each count of sexual assault.
The 18-month sentence was suspended for three years.
Cooper was also put on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years, and given a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, the BBC reports.
He had opened a massage service from his home called KneadU.
It was heard that during a massage, Cooper pulled a client’s underwear down to massage her buttocks.
The woman thought this was “unusual”, but didn’t challenge him because he had professional certificates.
She went to see him several more times after that for a massage.
The court heard that on another occasion, he took her underwear off completely, threw them on the floor, and massaged her buttocks.
After the woman made a complaint, Cooper was interviewed by police and told them he had asked the woman if he could remove her underwear to facilitate the massage, and she had agreed.
The court heard that during the police investigation, officers found footage of another client undressing for her massage, filmed by Cooper using a “spy pen” without her knowledge.
Cooper told police the woman did know she was being filmed, and there was a clause in a form she had signed stating such.
He told police he had filmed the massage so that he did not have to keep notes, for self-analysis on technique, and for record in case of complaint.
He denied getting sexual gratification from the recording.
The court was told Cooper retired from the PSNI in 2018 after 16 years’ service.
Cooper’s barrister said: “He’s experienced quite the fall from grace, from a respected police officer to convictions for sexual offences.”
It was heard Cooper cooperated fully with police, providing passwords and pin codes for devices.
The judge read a victim impact statement to the court from the woman who had been filmed undressing.
She said she hadn’t known about Cooper’s offending until police came to her home to tell her about the footage.
She said: “I was shocked, I felt betrayed, and extremely angry that my trust had been violated.”
The court was told she was nervous about speaking to people, in case they had seen the footage.
It was heard there was no evidence Cooper had shared it.
The woman said Cooper needed to “accept responsibility for his vile actions”.
An impact statement from the other victim outlined that she would not attend a spa or treatment with a male therapist as a result of what had happened.