Woman who sued therapist for sexual assault wins £217,000 damages | London | The Guardian

A woman who claimed she was raped by a therapist who said penetration could help ease her trauma has been awarded more than £200,000 in damages in a high court ruling after she sued him over the alleged assaults.

Ella Janneh, 37, a victim of childhood sexual abuse who waived her right to anonymity, brought a claim against Michael Lousada, described as a “self-styled psychosexual Somatics practitioner”, over a therapy session involving sexual penetration at his clinic in Belsize Park, north London, in August 2016.

Lousada, who had been an internationally renowned sex therapist and had appeared as a guest on the TV show This Morning, denied the allegations, claiming that the sexual activity was consensual and part of “legitimate” therapeutic activity.

Janneh reported the alleged rape to police after it happened and told a friend “I think I just got raped” but, in 2018, the CPS decided not to proceed with a criminal prosecution. So Janneh launched a civil claim against Lousada for personal injury and negligence.

In court documents, she said that Lousada told her: “His penis was, ‘like a laser beam’ and that it could ‘burn up trauma’, and that he should use his penis to absorb the trauma.” The court heard he did not wear a condom.

She claimed the incident caused her to suffer a panic attack, leaving her unable to communicate and “incapable of providing valid and informed consent”.

In his evidence, Lousada admitted penetration occurred but said he repeatedly received “clear verbal consent” for his actions. The court heard that when challenged by his ex-wife Louise Mazanti about his use of sexual penetration with clients he said his sexual work comprised his “spiritual gifts” and was an “expression of his soul”.

“I am satisfied that the scale of his confidence in his own abilities was such that his perception of reality became clouded by his sense of self-worth,” the judge said in his ruling.

“I am feeling everything all at once,” Ella Janneh said after the judgment. “I’m incredibly proud of myself, first and foremost that I got here. I have put in so much work.”

But, she added: “I’m also in grief for what it means to have given up the best part of a decade to hold a man accountable.”

“I was left wanting to die,” she said. “I was left suicidal. I was left with the harm that I’ve still never recovered from, so there’s grief also about an eight-year fight, and that’s eight years that I’ll never back.”

Janneh said that although her fight for justice had been long, she hoped that the judgment “can be meaningful for other victims”.

Source: Woman who sued therapist for sexual assault wins £217,000 damages | London | The Guardian

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