One of the eight women who have accused a Dunedin healer of groping her emailed him the day after the incident to complain it was “inappropriate”.
Sonny Hang Chin, 65, has denied indecently assaulting her or any of the other complainants.
While he accepted touching many of the women, his lawyer Anne Stevens KC said the physical contact was legitimate Chinese medicine practised by the “qigong master”.
As the Dunedin District Court trial entered its second week yesterday, the court heard from a woman who had booked to see Chin in late 2019.
She said he came “highly recommended” by a family member.
The witness described being taken aback by Chin’s questions about whether she had been sexually abused in her childhood but said she felt the physical benefits of the treatment.
At her second session a week later, the woman said Chin slid his hand under her shirt, beneath her bra and grabbed her breast.
“I was frozen,” she said.
She estimated the alleged incident lasted up to 20 seconds but said it felt like “forever”.
Counsel Deborah Henderson suggested the complainant had consented to Chin touching her breast and had voluntarily removed her bra when he was out of the room fetching oil.
The witness said that was not the case.
She repeatedly denied there had been any discussion about what Chin did before he did it, and there was no explanation about the impact on her “energy”.
The day after the alleged indecent assault, the complainant emailed Chin - an exchange which was shown to the jury.
“It has triggered emotional distress since. It was not justified in the treatment; it was inappropriate,” the woman wrote.
“Yes I did touch the lower lobe of your breast but I ask you that I was going to touch that area to feel the coldness of how disengaged you are with your chest area that affects your grief and depression,” Chin responded.
“If you feel I did not do a good job. No payment.”
The complainant underscored her disapproval a week later:
“I absolutely did not give you authority to touch my breast and did not understand that it was your intention to do so,” she wrote.
Chin responded within minutes to explain he had been clearing the “stagnant chi” from the patient.
The final complainant is the subject of four charges, also stemming from 2019.
In a police interview played for the court, she spoke about how she had been treated by Chin as a teenager and then again more recently when her ailments recurred.
On one occasion the woman said the defendant stressed she had to use her voice.
He allegedly put his hand down her pants and said: “Look, am I hurting you? Do you want my hands down here?”
The witness said she did not and when Chin allegedly asked her to tell him to stop, she said she did.
“He pulled out his hand and said ‘easy, see’,” the woman told police.
She said she felt ashamed of repeatedly going to see Chin despite the alleged abuse.
“I feel like I was manipulated and groomed by someone I trusted. I feel like he used some of my past sexual trauma to figure out a way to get handsy,” she said.
“This is something I can do to have a bit of a voice again and stop it happening to other people.”
The trial continues.