A 58-year-old man was ordered to stand trial after a Battle Creek woman said she was sexually assaulted while seeking a massage.
Chengrong Ge is facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the third and fourth degree and assault with intent to commit sexual penetration following a preliminary examination Friday before Calhoun County District Judge Jason Bomia.
Ge is charged with assault at the Relax Spa at 590 W. Columbia Ave. on Aug. 14. The hearing was held with Ge and his attorney, Patrick O’Connell, in the courtroom and the victim and Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Schwalm appearing remotely.
An interpreter also assisted because Ge is from the People’s Republic of China and does not speak English.
The woman, 19, testified she went to the spa for a massage about 6 p.m. because she was sore from running.
“I was really sore from my run and that is just a walk-in place and I thought that place might be a fun place to go,” she said. “I had never been there before.”
She believed the spa was reputable because it was located in a strip mall next to a sandwich shop “and my dad said it was probably a fine place because of the location.”
The victim said she had limited experience with massages. She was greeted by a woman and shown to a room and told to undress. She removed everything but spandex shorts and then said Ge entered the room.
“When I walked in there was no man, there was only a woman,” she said. “So I assumed the woman was going to give me the massage. But then a man walked in and I didn’t really think anything of it. He started giving me a normal massage.”
She said he had her turn onto her back and said he began to touch her breasts and also motioned for her to take off her shorts.
“I thought maybe he didn’t want to get oils on the clothes and I had never had a full body massage, I didn’t know.”
She said he had locked the door and during the massage put his fingers in her.
“He also got up on the table and pinned me down and was trying to have sex with me,” she told Schwalm.
“I had my legs squeezed and he didn’t make it inside me,” she said.
During cross examination by O’Connell, the victim said she didn’t ask for a woman.
“I would have preferred a woman but if it was a male, I didn’t really care,” she said.
“When he touched my breasts that made me feel a little off,” she said. “I don’t know if scared is the right word but I just had a not so great feeling in my stomach. I didn’t know what to do or if it was 100 percent wrong at the time.”
She told O’Connell she didn’t call out. “I wish flight or fight had been my reaction but I just froze.
“He gave up trying to rape me and got off,” she said.
She said Ge left the room and she dressed and left but called Battle Creek police later that evening.
The judge said he found enough evidence from her testimony to send the case to circuit court for trial.
Ge, who has been in the United States since 2001 on a work permit, remains in the county jail on a $25,000 cash bond.
Contact Trace Christenson at 269-966-0685 or [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: Man accused of sexual assault during a massage will face trial