Category: Massage

Bernard Torres massage Horowitz Law

Department of Health Restricts Hand and Stone Massage Therapist Due to Alleged Sexual Misconduct

The Florida Department of Health issued an Emergency Order on May 24, 2019 restricting the massage therapy license of Bernard Torres in response to female clients reporting Torres engaged in sexual misconduct during massage appointments.  The incidents were reported to have occurred at Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa, a massage establishment in Jacksonville.

The Department of Health found that Torres’ “unrestricted ability to provide massage services to female clients constitutes an immediate, serious danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the public.”  Bernard Torres has been licensed as a massage therapist in Florida since 2005.  Prior to this incident Torres was employed as a “lead massage therapist” at Hand and Stone in Jacksonville

According to the Department of Health’s Emergency Order, Torres was performing a massage on D.R., a 61 year old female on March 21, 2019.  While the patient was face-up, Torres moved the draping down to her hips exposing the client’s breasts without her consent. He then is alleged to have brushed his hands over the breasts several times and massaged her between the breasts.  The patient reported this activity to the managers of Hand and Stone as well as the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.  Prior to this alleged incident, Torres had been warned by Hand and Stone when a different female patient alleged that Torres exposed her breasts during a massage after numerous attempts to pull the draping up.

Clients of massage therapists are placed in isolated, vulnerable settings where they can be subject to abuse by their massage therapists. Due to the potential for abuse that is inherent under these circumstances, massage therapists must possess good judgment and good moral character in order to safely practice massage therapy.   Incidents such as this are a reminder that persons who may commit sexual misconduct work in all industries, even professions in which we typically place our blind trust.  All allegations of sexual abuse must be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement and employers must be especially vigilant in supervision and protection at all times.

Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in handling claims nationwide on behalf of victims of sexual assault by massage therapists, including at Hand and Stone and other national chains, spas, and hotels. You can reach Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

Marc DeTomaso Horowitz Law

Massage Luxe Employee Found Guilty of Inappropriately Touching Client During Massage in Bonita Springs

A Fort Myers, Florida jury found massage therapist Marc DeTomaso guilty of battery for violating a female customer during a massage in February 2017 at Massage Luxe in Bonita Springs.  The customer reported that DeTomaso forced his face between her legs and performed oral sex on her during the last five minutes of the massage appointment without her consent.  The victim reported the incident to Massage Luxe management who called the police. DeTomaso fled the spa before the police arrived.

The State Attorney presented evidence at trial that DNA matching DeTomaso was in a rape kit administered on the woman right after the incident. Judge Joseph Fuller sentenced DeTomaso to one year in jail, as well as court and medical costs associated with the victim’s exams.  DeTomaso, age 56, had been licensed as a massage therapist in Florida since 2000.  His massage therapy license was revoked by the Florida Department of Health in May 2018 on account of this incident.

Jurors heard testimony from the victim and another woman who filed a sexual misconduct complaint against DeTomaso about an encounter that occurred about a month before the February 2017 incident. That woman said she was inspired to notify authorities of the encounter when she saw on the news that DeTomaso was charged with sexual battery.

Sex abuse attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of sex assault by massage therapists, including at Massage LuXeIf you have a been a victim of sexual assault in a spa or during a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com. 

 

 

Department of Health Brings Sexual Misconduct Claim Against Tampa Massage Therapist

The Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy has filed an Administrative Complaint against massage therapist Louis Gay of Tampa accusing him of sexual misconduct with a female client.  According to the Complaint, the incident occurred on January 25, 2018 when Louis Gay was employed at Essentials Massage and Facial Spa located at 11782 North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.  The Complaint alleges that Louis Gay re-positioned his client’s draping to expose her breast and he then rubbed the center of her breasts with his hands.  It further states that he rubbed her nipples and cupped her breasts with his hands.

Florida law prohibits all sexual activity by any person employed in a massage establishment and says that no licensed massage therapist shall use the therapist-client relationship to engage in sexual activity.  The Board of Massage Therapy is seeking one or more of the following penalties on Louis Gay’s massage therapy license:   permanent revocation or suspension of Respondent’s license, restriction of practice, imposition of an administrative fine, issuance of a reprimand, placement of Respondent on probation, corrective action, refund of fees billed or collected, remedial education and/or any other relief that the Board deems appropriate.  Louis Gay has been licensed as a massage therapist in Florida since June 2017.  Gay has also performed massage therapy services at The Massage Spa in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Often times due to shock and fear of the sexual contact, a massage client will go into an involuntary “freeze response” to cope with the trauma of the assault.  This is a completely normal physiological response because the sexual contact is unexpected and the brain was previously attempting to go into a state of relaxation.  Due to the “freeze response”, a client sexually assaulted in the massage setting often fails to immediately scream for help or otherwise report an assault. Sometimes victims of sexual assault experience guilt or shame if they did not immediately stop the sexual contact or report it right away. The “freeze response” is a completely normal trauma response and the victims should not feel shame or guilt. It is never too late to report a massage therapist for sexual assault.

If you have a been a victim of sexual assault in a spa or during a massage at Massage Envy, Massage Luxe, Hand & Stone, Essential Massage or any other location offering a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

 

 

massage envy sexual Horowitz Law

SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST MASSAGE ENVY IN HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA

Horowitz Law has filed a lawsuit in Broward County Circuit Court against the the downtown Hollywood, Florida franchise of Massage Envy arising from an alleged incident of sexual misconduct by massage therapist Aitor Aizpurua at Massage Envy on July 14, 2018.  This Massage Envy franchise is located at 1640 Sheridan Street in Hollywood, Florida.

According to the client, she removed her clothing and covered herself with draping before her massage therapist came into the room.   The Complaint states that the therapist recommended a “Thai massage” to relieve tightness.  Moments later, she says he got on top of her.  The client stated, “I feel his body weight go forward on me, on my back. And then I feel his breathing, kind of like over my neck area. I feel him, just basically getting an erection over my tailbone. When I felt him get the erection, I knew something was wrong.”  The client was frightened at what would happen next but managed to escape from the therapist and quickly end the appointment.

The Florida Department of Health previously issued an Emergency Order on November 29, 2018 restricting the massage therapy license of Aitor Aizpurua.  The Emergency Order was issued in response to this same woman’s sexual misconduct claim.  He has been licensed as a Massage Therapist in Florida since 2017 according to the Department of Health website.

All massage therapist in Florida are licensed by the Florida Department of Health.  Other states have similar licensing boards.  If your massage therapist makes any sexual contact with you, it is a violation of professional ethics and may be a crime.  In addition to reporting misconduct to law enforcement, if this incident occurs in Florida you can also lodge a complaint with the Department of Health at this website: https://www.flhealthcomplaint.gov

If you have a been a victim of sexual assault during a massage at any Massage Envy location, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

 

Marco Davila Horowitz Law

Department of Health Alleges Sexual Misconduct by Therapist at The Standard Spa in Miami Beach

The Florida Department of Health has issued an Emergency Order on October 29, 2018 restricting the massage therapy license of Marco Davila alleging he committed sexual misconduct complaint on two female clients at The Standard Spa in Miami Beach.   The Standard Spa is located at 40 Island Avenue in Miami Beach at the Standard Hotel.   As a result of the Emergency Order, Marco Davila may not practice massage therapy on female clients.  Davila has been licensed as a massage therapist in Florida since February 2017.

According to a Complaint filed by the Department of Health, on January 1, 2018, Davila performed a massage on a patient M.H., an adult female, at the Standard.  During the massage, Davila allegedly exposed patient M.H.’s breasts and vagina, without her consent.  He then rubbed patient M.H.’s breasts without her consent.  He also attempted to touch Patient M.H.’s vagina with his hand, without her consent, according to the Complaint.   On May 22, 2018, Davila performed a massage on patient M.M., an adult female, at the Standard.  During the massage, Davila exposed Patient M.M.’s breasts and vagina, without her consent.  Davila also rubbed Patient M.M.’s breasts and nipples, without her consent, according to the Complaint.

We have handled sexual misconduct cases involving incidents at Massage Envy, Hand & Stone, Massage Green, Massage LuXe, Elements Massage, Massage Heights, and many other locations.  In some cases, Adam Horowitz has represented multiple victims of a single massage therapist.  It is often the case that after one client comes forward with her account that additional victims of the same perpetrator gain the courage and strength to come forward as well.  There is strength in numbers and having the courage to expose your perpetrator may provide support to other victims in telling their story.

All sexual contact by massage therapists during a professional setting is prohibited.  For instance, Section 480.0485, Florida Statutes, provides as follows:

Sexual misconduct in the practice of massage therapy. — The massage therapist-patient relationship is founded on mutual trust. Sexual misconduct in the practice of massage therapy means violation of the massage therapist-patient relationship through which the massage therapist uses that relationship to induce or attempt to induce the patient to engage, or to engage or attempt to engage the patient, in sexual activity outside the scope of practice or the scope of generally accepted examination or treatment of the patient. Sexual misconduct in the practice of massage therapy is prohibited.

Hollywood Massage Therapist’s License Restricted Due to Alleged Sexual Misconduct

The Florida Department of Health has issued an Emergency Order restricting the massage therapy license of Aitor Aizpurua of Massage Envy in downtown Hollywood, Florida.  The Emergency Order was issued in response to a female client’s sexual misconduct claim.  Aizpurua is accused of committing sexual misconduct at the Hollywood Massage Envy during an appointment on July 14, 2018.  He has been licensed as a Massage Therapist in Florida since 2017 according to the Department of Health website.

According to the Order, a female patient presented to Massage Envy with upper body pain. The patient
provided written consent for her upper body to be massaged, but did not consent for her lower body to be massaged.  Mr. Aizpurua was assigned to perform a massage on the patient.  During the session, Mr. Aizpurua complimented the patient’s physical appearance and her skin.  Mr. Aizpurua told the patient that he was going to try some “Thai message”’. techniques on her to assist with her pain.  Such techniques were not offered by Massage Envy, nor considered acceptable for its employees to perform.  While the patient was lying face down on the message table, Mr. Aizpurua climbed up on the table and positioned his body on top of hers.  While performing the “Thai massage” techniques, Mr. Aizpurua pressed his penis against the patient’s back and it became erect.  The patient felt Mr. Aizpurua’s erection pressing against her back.  Mr. Aizpurua continued to perform the “Thai massage” techniques on the patient after his penis became erect, and did not disengage from the massage or leave the room.  The patient felt uncomfortable about Mr. Aizpurua’s behavior and told Mr. Aizpurua that she did not want to be face down anymore.  Mr. Aizpurua then got down off the table and began to massage the patient’s inner thigh, without her consent.  After massaging the patient inner thigh, Mr. Aizpurua quickly massaged her head and then ended the massage.  Although the patient paid for a full hour massage, it lasted only a
few minutes.  The patient reported the incident to the manager of Massage Envy.  The same day, Massage Envy terminated Mr. Aizpurua’s employment due to his inappropriate behavior.

Patients of massage therapists are placed in isolated, vulnerable settings where they can be subject to abuse by their massage therapists. Due to the potential for abuse that is inherent under these circumstances, massage therapists must possess good judgment and good moral character in order to safely and professionally practice massage therapy. Massage therapists must also practice according to the standard of care established for their profession.

All massage therapists in Florida are licensed by the Florida Department of Health.  Other states have similar licensing boards.  If your massage therapist ever makes any sexual contact with you, it is a violation of professional ethics and may be a crime.  It could also provide the basis for a civil lawsuit against the spa or employer of the therapist.  In addition to reporting misconduct to law enforcement, if this incident occurs in Florida you can also lodge a complaint with the Department of Health at this website: https://www.flhealthcomplaint.gov

If you have a been a victim of sexual assault in a spa or during a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

MassageLuXE Chanse Travers Horowitz Law

Massage Therapist’s License Restricted Due to Sexual Misconduct Claim

The Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy has issued an Emergency Order restricting the license of Chanse Travers in response to a sexual misconduct claim involving Travers’ employment at MassageLuXe in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.  As a result of the Order, Travers is immediately prohibited from practicing massage therapy on female clients.

According to the Order, Travers used the massage therapist-patient relationship to engage or attempt to engage a patient in sexual activity when he exposed  and rubbed the patient’s breasts and nipples without her consent and asked to suck on her nipples.  The patient reported the alleged misconduct immediately after the appointment. This incident is reported to have occurred at the MassageLuXe located at 8378 Market Street in Lakewood Ranch, Florida on August 10, 2018.  Travers’ employment at MassageLuXe was terminated on account of this claim.  Travers has been licensed as a massage therapist in Florida since 2009 according to Department of Health records.

We commend this alleged victim for having the courage to come forward to report this incident.  Patients of massage therapists are placed in isolated, vulnerable settings where they can be subject to abuse by their massage therapists.  Due to the potential for abuse that is inherent under these circumstances, massage therapists must possess good judgment and good moral character
in order to safely and professionally practice massage therapy.

If you have a been a victim of sexual assault in a spa or during a massage at Massage Envy, MassageLuXe, Hand & Stone, or any other location offering a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

Berhane Tafari Oliver

Sexual Battery Charge Filed Against Boynton Beach Massage Therapist

Boynton Beach Massage therapist Berhane Oliver has been criminally charged with sexual battery in connection with unwanted sexual contact he allegedly made with a female client at Healing Hands of Judah during a scheduled 90-minute massage on or about September 6, 2018.   According to Boynton Beach Police Department records, Berhane Oliver put his hand in his client’s underwear and touched her vaginal area.  He then allegedly penetrated her vagina with his fingers.  The alleged victim told police she immediately told Oliver he was being inappropriate at which time he stopped and apologized.  The Department of Health issued an Emergency Order on February 8, 2019 restricting the massage therapy license of Berhane Oliver on account of this alleged incident and preventing him from accepting female clients.

On September 11, 2018, during a control call between the alleged victim and the massage therapist that was recorded by law enforcement, Berhane Oliver admitted to his client that he inappropriately placed his fingers in her vagina.  He also apologized and said he misunderstood what she wanted.  Oliver made a similar admission to police later that same day and even authored an apology letter to the client.

Berhane Oliver, age 38, has been licensed as a massage therapist since 2011.  Healing Hands of Judah is located at 112 South Federal Highway in Boynton Beach.

This is not the first time Behane Oliver has been in trouble with the law.  In July 2015, Berhane Oliver pleaded no contest in Broward County, Florida, to Touch or Strike/Battery/Domestic Violence, a misdemeanor.  In that incident, he was accused of strangling the mother of his two children while on top of her during a domestic altercation while stating “You are not going to take me away from my kids.”  The alleged victim told police she feared for her life.  Oliver was disciplined and fined by the Florida Department of Health in May 2018 for failing to report his 2015 plea agreement.  In addition, the Florida Department of Health recently suspended Oliver’s massage therapist license because he allegedly was not paying his child-support obligations.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched in Florida.  A massage therapist is never permitted to have sexual contact with a client.  If you have a been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery during a massage at a spa or any location, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz  at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

Alfredo Barreras massage sexual

LAKE MARY MASSAGE THERAPIST ACCUSED OF SEXUAL BATTERY

Massage therapist Alfredo Barreras is the most recent employee from Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa to be arrested on sexual misconduct charges in Florida.  According to law enforcement records, Barreras admitted to the sexual contact when interviewed by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office on September 7, 2018.  However, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office gave notice on November 21, 2018 that they do not intend to file criminal charges against Barreras at this time.  The Florida Department of Health issued an Emergency Order restricting Barreras’ massage therapy license on November 28, 2018 on account of this complaint.

Barreras last worked as a massage therapist at the Hand & Stone spa located at 1210 International Parkway South in Lake Mary.  According to law enforcement records, Alfredo Barreras was arrested in Seminole County, Florida on September 8, 2018 in connection with his alleged unlawful sexual contact with a female client during an appointment on August 7, 2018.  The alleged victim told law enforcement that Barreras touched her vagina, grabbed both of her breasts, and placed his month on both her nipples while she was there for a massage.   Barreras was also interviewed by law enforcement and reported that while he was massaging his client’s leg, his hand touched her vagina.  Barreras also said that while massaging his client’s shoulders, her breasts were exposed and this his mouth was over one of her breasts.  Barrera said he should have walked out of the massage but did not.

There are numerous pending civil lawsuits involving sexual misconduct against Hand & Stone franchises in the State of Florida.  Alfredo Barreras, age 24, has been licensed as a massage therapist in Florida since May 2014.  He has worked as a massage therapist at Hand & Stone since 2015.

We are often contacted by people who want to speak to a lawyer to know what their legal options are after being sexually assaulted by a massage therapist at Hand & Stone.  You have several remedies.  First, you should report the incident to law enforcement to have a proper criminal investigation conducted.  Second, you should contact the Department of Health or other licensing board to alert them of what occurred.  Third, you may wish to consider a civil lawsuit against any one responsible for the sexual assault, including the employer.  Claims may be brought for vicarious liability, negligence, negligent hiring, negligent retention, and negligent supervision among many other claims in a lawsuit.  it is not unusual for the civil lawsuit to be the only available form of justice because there are no criminal charges filed due to the high burden of proof necessary to obtain a criminal conviction.   Each of these remedies serves a different purpose yet work together to assist victims in obtaining justice. Our most important goal at Horowitz Law is to reduce the number of incidents of sexual misconduct and ensure that the perpetrator never has the occasion to commit such an act in the future.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched at Hand & Stone Spa.  A massage therapist is never permitted to have sexual contact with a client.  If you have a been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery during a massage at Hand & Stone or any other spa, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz  at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

Michigan Massage Therapist Nathan Weems Has License Suspended for Sexual Misconduct

Nathan Isaiah Weems’ massage therapy license has been suspended  by Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) in connection with his sexual misconduct with female clients.  On August 13, 2018, Weems pleaded guilty to six counts of criminal sexual conduct with two women in Macomb County, Michigan.

Nathan Isaiah Weems, of Shelby Township, last worked at the Namaste Massage and Spiritual Wellness massage parlor as a massage therapist, officials said.  Namaste Massage and Spiritual Wellness is located at 14196 Lakeside Blvd. North in Shelby Charter Township, Michigan.

Weems is currently licensed to practice massage therapy in Michigan.  A copy of the Administrative Complaint against Weems is below.

Anyone who has been the victims of sexual assault by a massage therapist or masseuse is entitled to seek justice.  This comes in many forms ranging from removal of the massage therapist’s license to criminal penalties to civil justice and lawsuits seeking compensation. Our law firm represents victims of sexual assault against massage businesses when the business who employed the therapist fails to take reasonable protections to prevent the sexual assault.

Our law firm files civil lawsuits on behalf of victims of sexual misconduct by massage therapists.  If you have a been a victim of sexual assault in a spa or during a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com