Massage therapist accused of sex assault denied bond, judge cites ‘portable’ crime

WASHINGTON — A D.C. Superior Court Judge denied bond to a former massage therapist charged with sexually assaulting two Message Envy customers, saying “there are no conditions that would prevent future dangerousness.”

The attorney for Habtamu Gebreslassie asked Judge Lynn Leibovitz to release him before trial, on GPS monitoring or with home confinement with his family.

“He has no (criminal) history, and we could track his movement, and know where he’s located,” argued attorney Sweta Patel.

Gebreslassie is charged with attacking two women in August and September and faces one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a patient or client, and one count of second-degree assault.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Williams told the judge two other women have come forward to accuse Gebreslassie — one in D.C. and one in Maryland.

Williams, in a hearing last week, said the grand jury is hearing evidence in the case, which could result in additional charges.

With Gebreslassie’s family in the courtroom, Leibovitz denied the defense’s argument for bond, saying GPS or home monitoring “would do nothing to decrease his level of dangerousness.”

Leibovitz said the 24-year-old defendant “could advertise and conduct his business as a massage therapist any place.”

The judge said no conditions of pretrial release would prevent another assault, given “the portable nature” of the massage business.

“While GPS would tell us later where he’d been, it would not prevent his access to other people,” Leibovitz said.

The prosecution is awaiting DNA results, as it prepares evidence for trial, which is scheduled to begin in January.

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