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Utah massage therapy instructor charged with sexually abusing multiple students, clients

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Posted at 8:29 PM, Jan 03, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man who formerly taught at a local massage therapy school and practiced out of his own studio has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting four different women — three of whom were his students.

Meade Calvin Steadman, 58, is charged with two 1st-degree felony counts of object rape and three 2nd-degree felony counts of forcible sexual abuse, with the alleged assaults spanning from 2004 to 2020.

The first of the four victims told police that Steadman was her instructor at Myotherapy Massage College in 2004. She said Steadman invited her to his private studio, Tranquil Touch, for a massage to help issues with her neck. She said he massaged her breasts, claiming it would help her neck by working "the whole system." She said he then touched her genitals inappropriately before removing his clothes, lying on top of her and "rubbing against her."

The next recorded incident allegedly took place in May of 2019, when Steadman allegedly sexually assaulted a former student of his who had since graduated. The woman said she and Steadman stayed in contact and would sometimes "trade" massages. On the day of the incident, the woman said she and a friend from school participated in a three-person massage with Steadman at his private practice. He suggested they do so with their clothes off, to which she "stated that she was against it but went along with it," court records state. She told police that Steadman asked if she wanted him to massage her private parts, to which she said no, but he proceeded to touch her inappropriately against her consent.

She said Steadman told her not to tell anyone what took place because she could lose her license.

A third woman told police she was sexually assaulted by Steadman in October 2019. She was not a student of his, but she said he was a well-known massage therapist in her circle of friends. She said Steadman was known to be "overly sexual" among her friends, so she told him before the massage that she was not interested in anything sexual. She said he touched her genitals anyway, but she then sat up and "called [him] out." She said he "stopped and apologized, playing it off like he wasn't paying attention."

The most recent of the four incidents took place in July 2020, according to police. The woman was another student of Steadman's at Myotherapy. According to charging documents, she said Steadman would "pigeonhole" her so he could sit and talk with her, which she said made her uncomfortable, "but she had to be nice because she didn't want to fail his class." She said she went to him for Brazilian wax and laser appointments, during which he would also remove his clothes and get completely naked. During a laser session, she said Steadman began massaging her, then lay naked on top of her and rubbed himself against her.

One of the three students who accused Steadman of sexually abusing her said she had a traumatic brain injury, and he claimed his massage work would help her. Another said he gave her special attention at school, and she noticed he would take "a special interest in students with anxiety, depression, and other issues." The third also said Steadman "manipulated her and put her into a position where she felt unique or special."

According to charging documents, investigators determined that Steadman "was training and grooming students to do sexual favors for him, under the guise that he was helping them." They also said he "took his position of trust to prey upon the victims."

Court records show that these charges were formally filed against Steadman on Aug. 30, 2022, and he was arrested the next day on a warrant. He was ordered to be held without bail, and he was still detained in the Salt Lake County Jail as of Tuesday.

In non-criminal court proceedings, records show that Steadman agreed to a "stipulation and order" to have his massage therapist and esthetician licenses surrendered in October 2021, about 10 months before he was charged and arrested.

The order, which was filed in the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL), show that Steadman was fired from his job as a massage therapist in August 2021 after his employer received a complaint from a client with a similar account to those detailed in the criminal charging documents. It was not stated where he was employed at the time.

The DOPL also said it received a complaint from one of Steadman's clients, which also detailed allegations similar to those in the charging documents. It also stated that a witness "told DOPL investigators that [Steadman] admitted to assaulting other male and female clients while performing massages."

Although Steadman agreed to the terms to have his licenses revoked, the records state that he "denies" the allegations. The order states that he cannot apply for re-licensing for at least five years from the document's signing.

In response to the arrest, Myotherapy Massage College said Steadman was fired from his position at the facility in August 2021.

"Meade Steadman was fired from his part-time instructor position at Myotherapy Massage College on August 22, 2021—before he was arrested and immediately after we received a credible first-hand account of an inappropriate incident," a statement from Michael Farley, President of Myotherapy Massage College reads. "We encouraged this individual to report the incident to police and sought to identify other potential victims and cooperated with the local police department to assure that the investigation would move forward as quickly and effectively as possible. We are heartbroken that an individual committed to a career in wellness would leverage a position of trust to prey on vulnerable individuals in the manner that was reported."