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'Slap On The Wrist' For Lakeview Masseur Charged With Raping Client: Victim

By Erica Demarest | October 20, 2017 8:19am
 Takashi Takei, 44, attacked a client at his now-defunct Lakeview massage parlor in September 2016.
Takashi Takei, 44, attacked a client at his now-defunct Lakeview massage parlor in September 2016.
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DNAinfo; Cook County Sheriff's Office

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Lakeview masseur accused of raping a client during a 2016 massage took a plea bargain to a sexual abuse charge and got sentenced to two years of probation. And even though his victim ultimately agreed to the deal, she's frustrated.

Takashi Takei, 44, is now required to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse in a 2016 attack at his now-defunct massage parlor, East Meets West, 3166 N. Lincoln Ave.

RELATED: Lakeview Masseur Raped Client, Texted Apology: Charges

In the plea deal Monday, prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of criminal sexual assault in exchange for the sexual abuse conviction. The Class 2 felony is punishable by probation or up to three to seven years in prison, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

Judge Stanley Sacks on Monday sentenced Takei to two years of probation.

In a phone interview Thursday, victim Kendra Barry said she was "extremely frustrated" by the light sentence — but ultimately backed the plea deal because "I was just scared that he would get nothing [if the case went to trial]. He'd be set free and do this all over again to other women."

Barry asked that her name be used in this story, saying she doesn't want to hide or be ashamed.

"I want to be strong for other women and to try to stop hiding and to fight against men like this," she said. "I need to make a stand. It may not change much, but if it changes one person to help make a stand, then that is worth it. I've hidden and been ashamed for far too long. I won't give a man like this that. Instead, I will show him my strength to fight and feel empowered."

She said prosecutors on the case warned her that a trial could take years and still result in an acquittal — even though Takei initially confessed to the attack and sent Barry apologetic text messages. He later pleaded not guilty.

The prosecutors "said they've seen a lot of cases go awry," said Barry, a 41-year-old veterinarian. "Even with all the evidence, they let the guy go. It's devastating."

Lead prosecutor Anne McCord could not be reached for comment.

Takei's sentence requires him to register annually as a sex offender, court records show. Over the next two years, he'll receive counseling for sex offenders and be subject to drug testing, a curfew and electronic monitoring. Takei is banned from drinking alcohol, using the internet without court approval, working or living with minors, visiting adult bookstores and possessing pornography.

Barry said she was visiting Takei's massage parlor for the second time when he attacked her on Sep. 5, 2016. Takei's defense attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

As the sister of a massage therapist, Barry had grown to love massages, she said. They'd become a monthly treat she'd experienced across the city — and even once in Takei's shop — with no issues. So when Takei began his attack, Barry panicked.

"When you're in that situation, you're exposed," Barry said. "You have nothing. You're fight or flight, and I just froze. You can't physically move. You are terrified."

When Barry left, she immediately filed a police report and went to a local hospital to submit a rape kit. In the weeks that followed, Takei began sending apologies via voicemail and text message.

"He called me and left a message saying, 'Hi, this used to be your massage therapist. I am very sorry.' He just kept saying, 'I am very sorry,'" Barry said. "He texted me after that, saying, 'Please forgive me.' He said, 'I guess [I'll] go to jail. Please forgive me.'"

For a long time after the attack, Barry said, she felt hopeless, depressed and ashamed. Gone was her social personality. It hurt to go outside, talk to people or even look people in the eye.

Today, Barry's working on forgiveness.

"Do I want to forgive him? I think I have to, honestly," she said. "Because I can't let this anger get to me. You just get to a point where you want to enjoy your life. You want to live in the moment. If I let that [anger] in, I'm letting him destroy my life. And I'm not letting that happen."

Now, 13 months after the attack, Barry said she thinks the justice system is woefully inadequate when it comes to rape cases. It was difficult to file a police report, she said, and it took weeks for prosecutors to bring charges against Takei.

As Barry reported her own rape last fall, sexual assault allegations swirled around President Donald Trump and actor Bill Cosby.

"And what happened to them?," Barry asked. "Nothing. Nothing.

"We [women] experience that day in and day out. I think women are trying to take a stand. But the justice system is nowhere near where it should be. You need so much evidence, and even with that, it doesn't always matter. I think that's the more frustrating part: You do have the courage to fight, and these men get a slap on the wrist."