A HYPNOTHERAPIST accused of sexually assaulting a woman as he attempted to put her under a trance has been cleared of all charges.
Steven Vallo walked free from Bradford Crown Court yesterday following a trial which heard the allegation that he had put his hand up the skirt of a 25-year-old woman in the beer garden of a Calderdale pub, then kissed her twice.
The 67-year-old had met his alleged victim after acting as an assistant to a professional comedy hypnotist’s show. He was said to have assaulted her on a bench after she asked to be hypnotised, after which, prosecutors said, she “froze” and was unable to speak out.
But the jury took just two hours to return not guilty verdicts on three counts of sexual assault.
During the hearing Vallo accepted that he had given the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a “peck” to say good night and accepted she had not in fact been hypnotised during the session.
But in cross-examination Vallo, a married man of Alder Grove, Illingworth, Halifax, denied “talking dirty” to the woman and rejected suggestions that he had taken advantage of the complainant and touched her sexually. He told the court: “I’m a healer, not a feeler.”
Vallo has no official qualifications, but has been practising hypnotherapy for 25 years. He specialises in weight-loss therapy and helping people give up smoking.