VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A masseuse employed at a Virginia Beach massage parlor was found guilty of crimes related to sexually assaulting his patients Friday.
Malik Sayvon Williams, 29, was previously employed at Wind & Unwind (which has since been renamed). He was found guilty by a jury of two counts of sexual penetration with an object, aggravated sexual battery and battery after a four-day trial.
The jury found him not guilty on one count of battery and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.
In a police interview played for the court, Williams described how he used his clients’ body language and eye contact to gauge whether he could fondle or massage them past the appropriate limits.
“It’s privacy – whatever happens in the massage room,” he was heard saying the recording.
The investigation began when one of the victims contacted the Virginia Beach Police Department on the advice of a lawyer. She had originally been concerned that because she didn’t fight back, her word wouldn’t carry enough weight to convict Williams.
Williams was arrested in August of last year after police got the first complaint in April 2022 from a woman who said she was sexually assaulted at Wine & Unwind (now called NOW Healing Sprits and Healing Spa) in Virginia Beach. Afterward several other women came forward.
VBPD Special Victims Unit Det. Savage led the investigation. Following the initial contact by the first victim in April 2022, she obtained a list of Williams’ last 100 clients and started making calls asking if they’d experienced anything inappropriate while getting a massage at the business.
Through that process, police were able to identify at least five other victims. Before the start of the trial, two of them apparently stopped cooperating with the prosecutor. The charges related to their alleged assaults were dropped.
In court Wednesday, Williams’ victims testified before the court, painting a picture of a man who used his power to take advantage of vulnerable women.
One of those victims contacted by police described how Williams touched her inappropriately during a massage on May 28, 2022.
The woman’s husband had purchased the massage for her as a gift. Holding back tears, she described feeling “shocked, nervous, anxious” when things took a turn at the end of her session.
“I was frustrated. I couldn’t believe it happened. I was anxious to leave,” she testified.
She told the court that during the incident, she sat up, at which point Williams began packing his things and said the massage was over.
Another victim testified that she texted a close friend “911 call me” immediately after being violated by Williams.
“I wasn’t thinking. I was still in this, like, out-of-body experience. I can’t really explain it,” she told the court of her experience.
She described how she tried to take things into her own hands, believing that the police wouldn’t be able to make an arrest based solely on her word.
Following the assault by Williams in March of 2022, she downloaded an app to record phone calls and attempted to capture Williams admitting to the crime. When that was unsuccessful, she contacted a lawyer who convinced her the police would be able to handle the case.
Another woman testified that Williams violated her during a couples massage in which her boyfriend was in the same room. Among the issues during the incident, Williams repeatedly gravitated to uncomfortably rubbing her throat.
“It was really uncomfortable and the way I was processing it was that he would move on to another part of my body, but he kept coming back,” she said.
Much of the critical testimony heard by the court actually came from Williams himself, who didn’t testify during the trial. His voice was captured in the aforementioned recording of a police interview made on July 19, 2022.
In the recording, Det. Savage questioned Williams about the nature of his massages and the techniques he used. Williams described using breast, throat and vaginal massages that were not taught to him in massage school.
In the interview, Williams seemed confused about why an investigation had been opened into him. What his victims described in testimony as paralyzing sexual assault, he portrayed in the interview as a regular part of his job.
“No one is ever uncomfortable,” he told Savage when questioned about the victim who sat up during her assault.
“All of them are consensual,” he responded, when she showed him the pages of clients she had.
Asked how he got approval from his clients to inappropriately touch them, Williams said he could read their body language and described his belief that many women enjoyed the touching.
“I look for the mannerisms in a woman,” he said in the recording. “They make eye contact, they touch on you.”
Several of the victims expressed that they hadn’t sought another massage after being assaulted and probably never would again.
Williams is set to be sentenced on Sept. 19. He faces up to two life sentences plus 20 years, though the guidelines recommend 12 to 19 years. He is out on bond until sentencing.