It started as a normal massage, police said. Now the massage therapist will face trial

Carl Nelson
Carl Nelson

A Bellefonte massage therapist accused of sexually assaulting a patient during a massage at Sincere Therapy was bound over for trial on Wednesday.

Carl Nelson, 37, massaged a woman’s inner thighs before climbing on the table and sexually assaulting her, according to Bellefonte police.

“I went to get a regular massage. It started our pretty normal and then he touched me without consent,” the woman testified. “He tried to have intercourse with me.”

The woman previously told police she gave Nelson a tip as she left because she wanted to leave safely.

“I wanted everything to seem normal so he didn’t think I was freaked out by it,” she testified.

Public defender Lora Rupert asked District Judge Carmine Prestia to dismiss the charges because there are areas of the body that are sensitive, and because the woman testified she was comfortable with Nelson and tipped him as usual.

“I suggest to you that this is where someone was being touched because this was a massage environment. She testified she did not see his penis,” Rupert said.

Deputy District Attorney Sean McGraw disagreed.

Prestia bound Nelson over for trial on two felony counts of sexual assault, one felony count of aggravated indecent assault without consent and one misdemeanor count of indecent assault without consent.

Rupert then asked Prestia to change Nelson’s bail because District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker denied bail, citing a public safety concern and lack of a fixed residence.

McGraw argued against the motion because he and Bellefonte police officer Bill Witmer believe there is a “grave” risk that Nelson leaves the area. Witmer also testified that Nelson was denied his massage therapy license in Maryland, but was granted his license in Pennsylvania.

“I’m here to help you feel better with every session. I treat a wide variety of clients of different ages and sizes. I treat all my clients with respect and confidentiality to ensure a pleasant experience,” the business’ website said.

Prestia granted the motion and set monetary bail at $150,000. If he were to post bail, Nelson will be required to surrender his license. He is currently being detained at the Centre County Correctional Facility.