Rape charges dropped against Poulsbo’s Belhon

POULSBO — Rape charges against a local massage practitioner were dropped this week, though the status of his license remains unclear.

On June 22, charges of rape in the third degree were dismissed with prejudice against Patrick Georges Belhon, 44. The formal action means that the state can never re-file such a case against him in the future.

Belhon, the owner of Olympic Spa & Massage on Front Street and a licensed massage practitioner, was arrested Feb. 27 and charged with rape in the third degree by the Kitsap County Prosecutor on March 2.

The charges stemmed from allegations made by an unnamed woman who claimed Belhon raped her during a massage session at the center Feb. 25. Belhon and defense council John Henry Brown claimed that the sex was consensual and after further investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office sided with Belhon.

“I was wrongfully accused of something I did not do,” Belhon said in a press release from his lawyers June 23.

But the matter continues to be investigated by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). On June 3, Health Professions Quality Assurance Office (HPQA) of the Washington State Department of Health Massage Program charged Belhon with unprofessional conduct for allegedly having sex with a patient during a treatment session, a June 21 report from the HPQA confirmed.

State law prohibits sexual relations of any kind between a licensee and a patient and the department could put Belhon’s license on probation or choose to revoke or suspend it as a result.

Belhon had 20 days to respond in writing to the initial unprofessional conduct charge and had not as of Herald press time. Deanna Whitman of the DOH Communication Office explained that if a letter was not received by Belhon by 5 p.m. June 23, a failure to respond notice would be sent. If he does not respond to the second document, the DOH will take action.

“At that point, they assume that the allegations are no longer allegations but are true and will issue a response,” Whitman said.

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