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Former massage therapist disciplined for ‘campaign of retribution’ over negative review

A former B.C. massage therapist has been disciplined for launching a “campaign of retribution” against a woman who posted a negative review about him online, then repeatedly insulted staff at his professional college after an investigation was launched into his behaviour.

Jeremy Jakobsze of Maple Ridge, about 37 kilometres east of Vancouver, has already resigned his licence during the course of the investigation by the College of Massage Therapists of B.C. (CMTBC). Now, he will also have to pay $12,000 in fines and costs, receive a formal reprimand and face a 10-month suspension if he decides to return to the profession, according to a new public notice from the college.

The penalty decision follows an earlier determination from a college disciplinary panel that Jakobsze committed misconduct when he contacted a prospective patient’s employer, filed a complaint with her professional regulator and called the RCMP in response to her negative Google review.

“Engaging in a campaign of retribution against a prospective patient as the respondent did would reasonably be considered by members of the profession to be dishonourable, disgraceful, and unprofessional,” the three-person panel wrote in July.

Jakobsze also committed misconduct in his exchanges with college staff, including an email in which he referred to one of them as “someone with a mental delay,” the panel found.

“He repeatedly insulted and derided them while they were simply [fulfilling] their statutory functions,” the July decision says.

In an email to CBC on Wednesday, Jakobsze accused the college of anti-male bias.

“CMTBC is criminally [liable] for being an accomplice to human rights violations,” he wrote.

He alleged he was “publicly shamed” by the college in retaliation for filing a complaint claiming his privacy rights were violated by staff during the investigation.

Jakobsze had objected to the fact that an investigation report was sent to his home by mail, without a requirement for a signature. The discipline panel rejected those arguments in its July decision, calling them “irrelevant” to the case at hand.

Jackobsze also told CBC he only took the actions he did because he believed the prospective patient was a danger to the public. The panel disagreed, saying he “had absolutely no basis or justification” for those claims and only intended to punish her.

He said he plans to launch a petition calling for Health Minister Adrian Dix to overturn the disciplinary findings, remove the college’s board and executive, and then resign from his cabinet position.

‘He was relentless in his campaign against her’

The saga began in June 2020, when a prospective patient visited Jakobzse’s office, according to a Sept. 19 penalty decision. The patient is referred to as AA in college documents.

AA wasn’t wearing a mask — they weren’t provincially mandated at the time — and she claimed Jakobsze was unnecessarily aggressive in response.

He did not treat her, and she went home and posted a negative review on Google.

AA is a dental hygienist, Jakobsze confirmed. After she posted her review, the decision says he submitted a complaint to her professional college alleging fraud and “gender-based harassment,” contacted her employer to say she had mental health issues and called the RCMP to accuse her of hate crimes.

A square grid shows several photos of massage therapist Jeremy Jakobsze, including head shots, photos of a rugby team, weightlifting and working with a patient.
Former registered massage therapist Jeremy Jakobsze is pictured in a photo collage posted on his website. (jjrmt.ca)

“He was relentless in his campaign against her, forcing her to respond to a complaint to her regulator, and forcing her to endure the embarrassment of having her mental health questioned in communications to her employer,” the penalty decision says.

Jakobsze’s complaint was dismissed by the College of Dental Hygienists of B.C., which found that the matter was “fundamentally a business dispute” and not related to AA’s work, according to a summary of the findings posted by the Health Professions Review Board. The board also rejected Jakobsze’s application for a review because it wasn’t filed within the required time limit.

Once the college’s inquiry committee had launched its investigation into Jakobsze’s actions, he exchanged a number of emails with staff that went “far beyond a legitimate challenge” to their actions, the panel found.

Among a raft of other incendiary remarks to college staff recounted in college documents, Jakobsze called the director of inquiry and discipline “someone with a mental delay.”

In a November 2020 email to the same official, he wrote, “I don’t know who touched you when you were 12 or what boy didn’t like you in high school, but it is not my fault that someone hurt you previously in life.”

He went on to accuse her of “a vendetta against me” and suggested she was “harassing me and my family to suit your own sexist motives.”

In a message to the college’s lawyer, Jakobsze called the investigation process a “kangaroo court,” and told them “You can be a criminal if you want. Just ask yourself if it’s worth it.”

In the penalty decision, the panel notes that Jakobsze has received a number of warnings from the college about his conduct over the years.

The college wrote him a warning letter in 2016 after he failed to obtain informed consent from a female patient. In 2017, he was advised to take remedial classes after some “inappropriate and unprofessional communications” with WorkSafeBC staff.

Then in 2018, Jakobsze received another warning about “sexual content” in his communications with a female patient, the decision says.

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