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Virginia massage therapist sentenced to 37 years in prison

Posted at 10:14 AM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 10:19:14-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Chaz Roca looked into the eyes of the man who sexually assaulted her on a massage table in December of 2020 and forgave him before telling Judge Holly Smith she hoped the court would "do what is right" and hold the man accountable.

Judge Smith then sentenced former massage therapist Shawn Robinson to 37 years in prison for sexually assaulting Roca and four other women at the Williamsburg Massage Luxe last year. The judge suspended an additional 99 years of Robinson's prison sentence.

Robinson was convicted in July 2021. He'd been previously convicted of a 2018 sexual battery on a woman at a Massage Envy in Chesterfield County.

Robinson, who spoke in his own defense prior to his sentencing, said 90-100 percent of the victim's statements are false.

He said he's "always been professional" and had only received 7 complaints in his entire career.

Robinson told Smith he had "bad publicity in the media," which painted him as a "bad person."

He said nothing was ever proved and the victim's stories were false.

Robinson added that nobody told him during the massage that he did anything wrong.

"I love all my clients,' Robinson said. "I am not a bad person." "I love women." "I don't see myself as a sexual predator," before stating that there was no DNA evidence.

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Shawn Lamonte Robinson

Cathy Black, the Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney for Williamsburg and James City County, told the court Robinson stated in a presentence report that he would "probably leave the profession of massage therapy," which led her to conclude he "does not get" that what he did was wrong.

She said a psycho-sexual evaluation performed by a doctor identified him as "high risk" in several of the tests performed.

He told the evaluator "I just had the feeling she wanted me to do something," and also said, "if you're a modest woman why would you let someone massage you naked?"

Black concluded that Robinson believed the women were "asking for it."

She also highlighted that the doctor who performed the evaluation diagnosed Robinson with paraphilic disorder, which is characterized by "persistent urges involving non-consensual acts of a sexual nature."

Robinson's attorney, Sara Yohn, countered by saying there was no statement in either the presentence report or the psycho-sexual evaluation that Robinson indicated somebody was asking for it. Yohn also said Robinson would never be a massage therapist again as his license had been revoked. She also suggested he could be rehabilitated.

Judge Smith told Robinson he was smart, well-educated, had a good childhood and pointed out that he suggested the victims "just wanted to get attention," according to the presentence report.

She insinuated that was hard to believe because the victims had to give testimony about their intimate parts, and she found their testimony credible because their fear was palpable, even to this day.

Smith said it was apparent that Robinson had a consistent "lack of insight" into what he did wrong, and the doctor's diagnosis in the psycho-sexual evaluation was very concerning.

Chaz Roca, one of Robinson's victims, said she was pleased with the sentence.

"I hope he enjoys his prison time and I hope he sits in his cell and really thinks about the consequences and ramifications of what he's done," she said. "Not only to myself but every other survivor that fell underneath his hands."

Roca told Judge Smith she wanted to kill herself after the assault and kept blaming herself for what happened.

She then asked Smith to hold Shawn Robinson accountable and put an end to what he had done.

Robinson, who was the subject of a CBS 6 investigation, was found guilty in July 2020 of misdemeanor sexual battery for raping a woman in February 2018 at a Massage Envy on Midlothian Turnpike.