Boulder Massage Therapist Accused of Sexually Assaulting Clients, Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison
May 13, 2022
Brighton, CO — Today, 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason is announcing the guilty plea and six-year Department of Corrections sentence for Matthew Mandel, 52. Mandel pleaded guilty to First-Degree Criminal Attempt to Commit Assault (F4) and Criminal Attempt Unlawful Sexual Contact (F5) in Boulder County District Court on February 17, 2022. On May 12, 2022, a Boulder County District Judge sentenced Mandel to six years in the Department of Corrections.
The 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office, which serves Adams and Broomfield Counties, was appointed as special prosecutor on this case in Boulder County.
Mandel was accused of sexually assaulting four separate victims in 2019 while he worked as a massage therapist at two different locations in Boulder County. Two of the four victims came forward after the original charges were filed in this case.
April 13, 2019:
The victim in this incident reported that Mandel used extreme pressure during her massage and maintained control of the room with his actions which frightened her. She said Mandel proceeded to uncomfortably massage her buttocks and breasts. The victim said she cried and closed her eyes until it was over.
September 18, 2019:
The victim in this incident reported that Mandel massaged her breasts, digitally penetrated her vagina and anus, brushed his erect penis against her, and performed oral sex on her before she abruptly ended the massage.
The victim in this incident came forward after the original charges were filed against Mandel. This victim reported that Mandel passionately kissed her, exposed her breast during the massage, placed his face very close to her vagina, licked the back of her thighs, and put his mouth on her nipples.
September 18, 2019:
The victim in this incident also came forward after the original charges were filed against Mandel. The victim in this incident reported that Mandel continuously adjusted her underwear throughout the massage, grazed her vagina with his hands, massaged her buttocks inappropriately, and put intense pressure on her vertebrae which caused her back to pop. For months, she said she had bruising and pain in the area where Mandel put the pressure.
"No one who goes to a massage therapist should ever have to fear or endure a sexual assault. The defendant’s conduct here was absolutely outrageous. I applaud the victims for their courage in coming forward and am grateful to my team for the just prosecution of this case," said District Attorney Brian Mason.
On February 17, 2022, Mandel pleaded guilty to:
First-Degree Criminal Attempt to Commit Assault (F4)
Criminal Attempt Unlawful Sexual Contact (F5)
On May 12, 2022, a Boulder County District Court Judge sentenced Mandel to six years in the Department of Corrections.
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Sisk and Senior Deputy District Attorney Sara Carty, of the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office Special Victims Unit, led the prosecution of the case.
# # #
District Attorney Mason assumed the oath of office on January 12, 2021. The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office endeavors to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Adams and Broomfield counties in felony and misdemeanor cases. DA Mason and his staff are dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system to better serve the citizens of the 17th Judicial District.
Ms. Gazelka is a forensic therapist and clinician in Denver, Colorado. She is currently focused on providing therapy and assessment services to adult offenders in the community corrections and parole systems as a supervisor at Correctional Psychology Associates (CPA). Her education and career have been devoted to the intersection of psychology and law since 2000. Ms. Gazelka has been working within the field of forensic and correctional psychology since 2006, providing therapy in the community and acute mental health care and risk assessments in county jails. She has practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor since June 2012. She also became a Licensed Addiction Counselor in March 2014. She was listed as a full operating level DVOMB Approved Provider in June 2019 and started a fledgling DV program oriented to Colorado’s Department of Corrections at CPA in September 2019. Ms. Gazelka was appointed to the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board (DVOMB) in March 2019 and has started her second term with the board. Ms. Gazelka has been recognized for her work as Contributor of the Year at CPA in 2010 and 2012, as well as having been awarded an Alumni Impact Award for her forensic work in the community by University of Denver’s GSPP in 2019. Ms. Gazelka received her Master of Arts degree in Forensic Clinical Psychology from University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2009. Ms. Gazelka also received her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in 2007, obtaining attorney’s licenses in both Minnesota and Colorado (currently inactive).
Alex Castro Croy
Alex Castro Croy is a bilingual, bicultural, Trauma and Addiction Counselor and owner/Lead Clinician of Life Recovery Centers in Denver and Northglenn Colorado.
A first-generation immigrant from Mexico who accomplished his dream in higher education receiving an AA in Pastoral Ministry (Dallas, Texas), Bachelor of Science in Human Services (MSU in Denver, Colorado) and MA in Community Counseling from Regis University (Denver, Co). He is continuing to pursue his MA/Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Jungian and Archetypal Studies.
Alex’s passion includes training, teaching, counseling, and consulting. He has been an Adjunct Professor for the Human Services Department at MSU-Denver for 9 years. He has served as an Interventionist for the Latino GLBTQ community, Drug Court Probation Officer at Denver Juvenile Court Probation (8 years), Bilingual Diversion Officer for Denver DA office (5 years), and currently owner and director of Life Recovery Centers (7 years). He has worked with a variety of clients from all walks of life and his eclectic therapeutic interventions have proven to be effective in treating trauma and addiction.
Thea Wessel is an addictions counselor with a private practice in Colorado. She has been working in the criminal and addiction fields for thirteen years. Ms. Wessel earned her Masters in forensic psychology from the University of Denver and has her LPC, LAC, MAC, NCAAC, and ADS. She is working towards her Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Ms. Wessel continually challenges herself and others to provide quality addiction treatment and ways to continue to educate the community about addiction issues.