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Massage Therapist Guilty of Abusing Soccer Players

Andy Berg Headshot

A Kansas massage therapist who was under contract with the University of Kansas was found guilty of fondling three members of the women’s soccer team.

A jury Thursday found Lawrence massage therapist Shawn O’Brien guilty of sex crimes against of total of five people.

The Associated Press reported that three of the charges accuse O’Brien of indecent liberties with a child under the age of 14 for fondling a girl who was either 9 or 10 on three occasions between 2013 and 2015. 

The other five charges accuse him of sexual battery for fondling four women while giving them a massage to treat athletic-related issues between 2016 and 2019. Three of the women played for the University of Kansas soccer team. The fourth woman was a university student who was a client at his office.

The University of Kansas terminated O’Brien’s contract after initial charges were filed against O’Brien.

In closing arguments, deputy district attorney Joshua Seiden told jurors that O’Brien used his credentials as a professional massage therapist to fondle the victims. He also noted that O’Brien claimed not to remember any of the incidents that the athletes testified to.

O’Brien’s attorney Phillip Sedgwick framed the situation as a “he said, she said” situation, claiming prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to convict O’Brien. He said that the athletes did not complain about O’Brien’s methods or let him know they were uncomfortable.

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