Judge dismisses ‘phantom hands’ defence; jails Christian healer for groping victims

GEORGE BOAK, 70, accused of groping women who had come to him for “spiritual” healing, tried to convince jurors during his trial last month at Bradford Crown Court that victims were experiencing “phantom hands”.

George Boak

George Boak

A former traffic warden, Boak told the court:

From the healing you get all sorts of sensations … you could feel my hands inside you and they might be two inches above the body.

However, Judge Jonathan Rose dismissed this as a “significant lie” and jailed the pensioner for two years. He said Boak had preyed on vulnerable and desperate women and had shown:

Continuing unwillingness to demonstrate any remorse whatsoever.

Boak treated his patients by using so-called faith healing techniques which involved touching patients’ bodies in various places to alleviate discomfort.

Boak said he had been involved in healing for over 25 years and that he could heal patients either through treatments at his Lightcliffe home or even by sending his healing powers to them miles away.

He said his wife was always at home when he was dealing with clients and he told patients to tell him immediately if they were not happy about anything.

Boak accepted that he had sexually touched one woman, but claimed that he had responded to an invitation from her to be “familiar”.   But he said he stopped immediately when the woman asked what he was doing.

I apologised because I realised I had misread the signs. 

Boak suggested during his evidence that two other women may have thought he was touching them intimately when he wasn’t.

When But prosecutor Michael Smith insisted that his claims about “phantom hands” were a lie, Boak replied:

No it’s not a lie, it’s well-documented is phantom hands.

The woman who first complained to the police about Boak last year told Bradford Crown Court how he had been the only person who could ease the chronic back pain she had suffered for years, but she felt uncomfortable about some of the remarks he made to her.

The complainant, who together with the other women cannot be identified for legal reasons, said Boak would tell her how attractive she was and describe her as “stunning”, but she told him to stop it because he was meant to be professional.

She said she stopped going to his home for healing sessions because of the comments, but later decided to go back to him out of “sheer desperation” to get rid of the pain.

The woman described how Boak put his hand inside her bra during the alleged sexual assault last year.

I dragged his hand out really quickly and within seconds he’s got his hand down my leggings.

She said she managed to get up and “hobble” out of the house and then contacted the police.

The jury also heard from another complainant who said she had gone to police about Boak after seeing an article in a newspaper about his appearance in Calderdale magistrates court last August.

She alleged that she was also molested by Boak several years ago and told the court she how she reacted when she saw the newspaper report.

I froze really. It felt really horrible. It just brought it all back and I thought I need to help this lady.

She told the jury she had not consented to Boak touching her sexually and said she did not know either of the two other complainants involved in the case.

A third complainant has alleged that Boak sexually assaulted her while she was naked and undergoing treatment at his house.

Boak, now on the sex offenders’ register for two years, had denied two charges of sexual assault and one of indecent assault.

Hat tip: Robert Stovold

19 responses to “Judge dismisses ‘phantom hands’ defence; jails Christian healer for groping victims”

  1. Daz says:

    However, Judge Jonathan Rose dismissed this as a “significant lie”

    Well, that’s close to what I was thinking…

  2. Mr Cornelius says:

    As a Scot, I find his surname apt and hilarious, as he does in fact give me the dry boak.

  3. Angela_K says:

    I’m surprised he didn’t use the “god made me do it” defence! Also, he should have been charged with fraud – “faith healing” doesn’t work, it contravenes Biology, Physics and Chemistry and there is no evidence to support the efficacy.

  4. Broga says:

    Mr Cornelius: As another Scot you got there before me. On release Boak can use the Evangelist Defence, often deployed with success in the USA Bible Belt. Satan led him astray, Jesus has enabled him to see the light, he is now spiritually cleansed and a better Christian and more powerful healer than he was before. He will be inside more faith indoctrinated women’s knickers than ever. Yuk!

  5. Daz says:

    Jesus has enabled him to see the light, he is now spiritually cleansed and a better Christian…

    That always gets me; such people seem blind to the difference between “God forgives me” and “the person I actually harmed forgives me.”

    The first is easy. The second takes actual thought and work.

  6. barriejohn says:

    Angela: Faith healers are unable once again to provide any evidence to support their outrageous claims.

    (Follow link to read full adjudication)

  7. L.Long says:

    Lets see we have at least 3 women who think that someone passing their hands over their naked bodies is going to be helpful in something other then a start to sex???!!??
    This man should be charged with taking advantage of the mentally retarded, and my apologies to people with real mental problems for the comparison.
    Did he force these women to come to his place? Did he force them take their clothes off? Did he force them to lay down and allow his hands on them? Sorry but the ‘assault’ charge seems a little harsh. Is he a con man that took advantage of the mentally retarded?? Most likely.

  8. Daz says:

    L.Long, I’m not sure how you figure the women were naked given that the OP refers to him forcing his hand inside clothing. Nor do I see that being “mentally retarded,” even if the victim does indeed have mental health problems, somehow makes it not assault to sexually assault them. If anything, it would make it worse assault.

  9. L.Long says:

    Hey DAZ-No mental problems?? They thought him waving his hands was doing something! At the very least they where completely delusional! And I did apologize to mental people for the comparison.
    And it said something about having is hands on her body so I said naked but that was probably incorrect. I’ve never been to one of these con men so have no direct knowledge. But that is why there where ???? at the end of the sentences. I was asking a question and if answered one way then too bad for the women, if answered the other then You and I both said and agree that he took advantage of completely delusional women.
    And NO I am not trying to BLAME the women for this, as the guy is the criminal, but when you believe BS to the point of delusion then you are putting your body on the line with criminals. And I don’t care of the con man does BELIEVE the BS, he’s a crook!

  10. chrsbol says:

    The penultimate line .
    A third complainant has alleged that Boak sexually assaulted her while she was naked and undergoing treatment at his house.

  11. L.Long says:

    Thanks chrbol for the update as I missed that on the 2nd read thru.
    Although admittedly he still conned a delusional woman to let him get to her.
    Also although she was delusional, when the ‘helping’ went beyond a certain point she tried to get it stopped and to leave. But it should never have gone beyond ‘take your clothes off’ as a simple google on hand waving treatment would have shown that nudity is not a requirement.

  12. tony e says:

    James Randi has spent his life exposing these charlatans.

    Enjoy the link.

  13. Daz says:


    re nakedness. Apologies, my mistake.

  14. Marky Mark says:

    “James Randi has spent his life exposing these charlatans.”
    …yes, I’ve read his book and visit his site. The magician Harry Houdini did the same.

  15. Robster says:

    I don’t know about the situation in the UK but here in Australia, homeopathy treatments are in some cases covered under the universal health care, Medicare as if they have an actual theraputic value. This gives the charade a credibility it really shouldn’t have.

  16. barriejohn says:

    Robster: The same in the UK. The National Health Service funds homoeopathic “treatment”, and the Royal Family are famous advocates, as is our present Health Secretary, apparently, once referred to very appropriately on the Today programme as “Jeremy Cunt”!

  17. RDawes says:

    One sad thing about this is that Boak was probably telling the truth about “phantom hands” being “well-documented”. The internet is filled with bogus crap that these predators use to con their victims.

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