Police confirmed that a Vancouverite was assaulted earlier this month after ordering a massage through her phone. VPD stated that last week, a Vancouver woman was sexually assaulted by a massage worker in her downtown apartment after reportedly ordering the masseuse through an app called Soothe. The suspect has since been arrested and released on bail. 

Vancouver Police concluded that a woman in her 30’s booked a male masseuse on Aug. 14 to come to her home in downtown Vancouver and provide treatment. Alexander Varfolomeev, 33-years-old, was the male masseause.

It is believed that Varfolomeev was self-employed and used the Soothe app to book his clients. 

According to the Soothe website, all the therapists under their employment are vetted, certified, and background checked annually. In theory, this would mean that incidents like this wouldn't occur since the massage therapists would be checked for criminal history before they were approved by the site. 

However, the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia told Narcity that Varfolomeev is not listed in the college’s database as a registered massage therapist. 

The Soothe website states that it currently operates in over 60 locations across the world including Toronto, Ottawa, and Seattle. 

Soothe offers 60, 90, and 120-minute packages for Swedish, deep tissue, sports, prenatal, work, and couples massages. 

According to the police report, the unidentified woman reported to police that she was asexually assaulted by Varfolomeev. After an investigation was launched, Vancouver Police arrested Varfolomeev on Tuesday, Aug. 20 and charged him with one count of sexual assault for the alleged offence. 

He has since been released on bail with a court order prohibiting him from providing massage or physical therapy to the public. The date of his next court appearance is unknown at this time.

In a public press conference, Vancouver police stated that they are working alongside Soothe to add this investigation. To their understanding, the app will no longer use Varfolomeev. Narcity has reached out to Soothe for a comment and we will update this story when we receive a response.

"People are looking for convenient ways to do business and using the internet and using apps is a form of convenience for people. It's important for people to take precautions… do your business in public if you can,” said a member of the VPD media relations department in a public press conference. 

This is an important reminder to always stay safe in the city. This is not unlike other incidents we've seen with Uber in Canada and other similar delivery apps. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article misrepresented Varfolomeev's title. It has been updated with accurate information.

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