Stockport, England- A supposed ‘spiritual healer’ and clairvoyant was arrested and sentenced to 16 years three days ago. The ‘healer’ was actually a sexual deviant who would tell women that their sexual energy points were blocked and then would proceed to sexually molest them.
Amongst the titles 60 year-old Michael Ireland gives himself, one of them is Reiki Master. Reiki is a hands-on treatment approach from Japan, and Ireland tricked a lot of women to come see him under the belief that this kind of therapy would help them.
For more than 25 years, Ireland conned a large number of unsuspecting and vulnerable women, as well as girls, by offering them “special healing” that would help them sexually and that would only be performed in the privacy of his own flat.
Although she had the right to remain anonymous, Joanne Mulholland waived this right last night and allowed herself to be interviewed by the Daily Mail. The 41-year-old divorcee told the paper of the terror she felt when Ireland sexually assaulted her during what was supposed to be therapy for her painful back.
Mulholland said; “I was devastated. I felt angry and terribly betrayed. I had trusted him as a professional and yet he took advantage of me in the worst possible way.”
Initially, Ireland kept denying all of the allegations against him.
He finally decided to plead guilty to 25 offenses in January when his trial was scheduled to begin in Manchester. The offenses he pleaded guilty to included indecent assault and sexual activity with a child committed against eight victims over the course of 25 years.
During the trial three days ago, one of the victims was unable to take it and exited the court in tears as they were listing the catalog of abuse.
During the trial, the court heard of how Ireland advised one victim that her breasts and vagina were ‘dead’ and that he could help her reactivate them.
A different woman said that Ireland told her to touch him in intimate ways in order to get her energy flowing again.
One of his younger victims, a 15-year-old girl, said that she took an overdose of medication in order to gain some sort of relief from his sexual abuse.
Before news of him was aired out and he was discovered, Ireland used to travel from one spiritualist church to another offering his therapeutic services, which ranged from Reiki to crystal healing and chakra balancing, for £15 per session.
Ireland also advertised himself as a clairvoyant who gives regular demonstrations of his medium ability along with being an expert in shamanic healing on his website.
Conveniently, however, his site did not mention the fact that when he was a teenager, he was convicted of indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 14.
Mulholland, who met Ireland in October of 2009, said that she had decided to have sessions with him in which he would cure her back pains she had been having.
“He said to reach my back he needed to feel inside me. I felt my heart thumping because I knew it wasn’t right. Yet, as I lay there on my own on the healing couch I felt incredibly vulnerable. I couldn’t wait to leave,” she said.
Ireland convinced Mulholland that the cause of her back pain was a blockage of energy.
“It sounds naïve but when he said he was freeing one blockage and his hands wandered inside my bra, I told myself it was necessary,” said Mulholland. “But when on the fourth visit he put his hands inside my pants, I never went back.”
According to prosecutor Darren Preston, Ireland would advise his victims that conventional Reiki therapy would not work for them, but that he had a different method that was a little bit controversial.
On a different occasion, Ireland told a woman who considered him a mentor that in order to rid her of demons, he had to blow in her mouth.
A different 39 year-old victim who did wish to remain anonymous spoke of how she first met Ireland at a spiritualist church and how first he ‘scanned’ her body and then told her that she should come by his flat on a regular basis for sessions. The sessions would be to release her broken chakra points via his touch.
When Ireland wasn’t completely naked during the sessions, which was common, he would take the victim’s hand and put it inside of his pants. He told her that this was because he was impotent and her doing this ‘gets the energy flowing’ again.
Finally, victims came forward to police and he was arrested in July of 2012. They described Ireland as being a ‘very strong powerful person’ and that they felt he had a strong ‘presence’.
After Judge Mushtaq Khokhar sentenced him to 16 years in jail, he told him that because of his irresponsible and hurtful actions, a lot of his victims no longer had any confidence in themselves and were laying the blame on themselves for being naïve and gullible.
After the sentencing, one of the victims said “I’m glad that he can’t do it to anybody else. It’s been a living nightmare and I’ve not had any sort of life since it happened.”
A different victim spoke of how she has not been able to work ever since the abuse started. “I don’t go out of the house, I have flashbacks and panic attacks.”