"I'm so sorry about today," the text message said. "I feel very bad for making you uncomfortable and I regret it. I'm so stupid for losing control. Will u forgive me please cuz I can"

The message was sent at 6:53 p.m. July 10 by Dr. Christopher Thaemert to a 20-year-old woman who had worked in his chiropractic office in St. Paul for three years. Early the next morning, that woman called police and reported that Thaemert had molested her while giving her a massage.

That allegation was repeated again Wednesday as Thaemert went on trial in Ramsey County District Court on charges of fourth- and fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Prosecutor Steven Pfaffe told the jury during his opening statement that Thaemert sent the first apologetic text message and subsequent ones because he had touched the woman in a sexual way without her consent.

Defense attorney Earl Gray said Thaemert "made a mistake"; he kissed the woman on the ankle and calf, but he did not molest her. He apologized because he had embarrassed himself and her, Gray said.

"That ended it," he said. "That was that."

Since then, Gray added, the lawyer representing the alleged victim has demanded $250,000 to settle a lawsuit they filed against Thaemert, who lives in Hugo.

The woman who made the allegations was the first witness to take the stand. She said she had worked for Thaemert at Phalen Chiropractic since she was 17. Her aunt had worked there about 12 years.

On July 10, she and Thaemert were the only ones there. After lunch, Thaemert asked her if she wanted a massage. The woman said she had never had one before and accepted his offer.

She left on her bra and underwear, put on a gown that ties in back and lay face-down on a massage table in the acupuncture room. At first, the massage was fine, but the woman said she became uncomfortable when he sat between her legs to massage her calf and thigh and repeatedly ran his hand over her private parts.

"I asked him what he was doing," the woman said as she quietly cried. He told her, "Anybody who sees [you], wants a piece of [you]," the woman said.

The woman said she didn't confront Thaemert any further. The massage ended when he asked if she wanted to turn over so he could massage her front. She told him, no, she just wanted to rest.

When another female employee came to work at 3 p.m., the woman said she told her that Thaemert had touched her. She continued to work until 6 p.m., then went home and never returned.

Under cross-examination from Gray, the woman said she didn't object in any way until Thaemert started kissing her legs. She also acknowledged suing Thaemert but said it was her parents who hired the attorney.

Pat Pheifer • 651-298-1551