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3 Women Who Reported Sexual Assaults By Colorado Massage Therapist Say They Were Shocked

(CBS4) - A judge has sentenced a former massage therapist who was accused of sexually assaulting several his clients to 6 years in prison. Matthew Mandel pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault and attempted sexual contact for incidents that occurred in 2019.

Matthew Mandel
Matthew Mandel (credit: Boulder Police)

Three of the women who reported him -- Deana, Lauren, and Rebecca -- have come together to support one another and encourage other victims to come forward.

"I'm just glad that we all came forward and did what we did," Rebecca said.

The three of them all share similar stories of what happened,

Mandel targeted Deana in April of 2019 while he worked at Massage Specialists in Boulder.

"After being violently sexually assaulted in that room I was in shock," she said.

Lauren says her appointment with Mandel at Colorado Athletic Club in Boulder followed a similar pattern, and left her frightened and confused.

"As the massage started going on I got more and more uncomfortable as things started happening," she said.

For Rebecca, a phone call ended her session with Mandel at the same club, a day she says she cannot forget.

"At that point I was like 'I've got to go,' and he's like 'I have all afternoon to massage you.' I'm like 'Get me out of this room,'" she said.

She immediately went to law enforcement. Hers was one of the reports that helped lead to Mandel's arrest.

"Afterwards I didn't know what to do or how to process (it) and since then I have not gotten another massage. I don't want anyone touching me," Rebecca said.

Mandel pleaded guilty to attempted first degree assault and attempted sexual contact, both felonies, and was sentenced to 6 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, affirming what the three women knew all along.

(credit: CBS)

But as victims, they know it isn't always easy to accept when someone has crossed a line.

"Looking back on it, yeah, I wish that I would have listened to my gut," Lauren said.

They are hoping the result of sharing their stories and their courage is that others do the same.

"I feel like it is my job to be an advocate and to tell people they are not alone," Deana said.

In addition to the three women who spoke with CBS4, records show that there are multiple other victims who reported Mandel.

Each of the assaults happened in 2019, two years after he was given his license. It has now been suspended along with the prison sentence.

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