Category: Sex

Massage sexual Juan Mendiz

Fort Lauderdale Massage Envy Therapist Juan Mendiz Accused of Sexual Assault, License Restricted

Massage therapist Juan Mendiz has been arrested after being accused of sexually assaulting a female client at the Massage Envy franchise located in Cordova Road in Fort Lauderdale’s Harbor Shops Complex.  According to law enforcement records, Mendiz is accused of penetrating his client’s vagina with his fingers against her will toward the end of a massage appointment on March 9, 2018.  The alleged victim, who was in Florida on spring break, reported her assault to Massage Envy on the date of the incident.  She was reportedly urged by franchise employees not to call the police because it was being handled internally.  Most recently, the Florida Department of Health issued an Emergency Order on May 18, 2018 restricting Juan Mendiz from practicing massage therapy on female patients.

The allegation that Massage Envy urged a client not to contact law enforcement to report a sex crime is particularly troubling because Massage Envy adopted a new a sexual assault policy in December 2017 in response to a Buzzfeed investigation that revealed over 180 public allegations of sexual misconduct at Massage Envy franchises nationwide.  According to the new policy, if a Massage Envy client reports an incident of sexual assault, spas must offer contact information for local law enforcement, as well as a private room in which to call if the person chooses to do so.

The alleged victim did call the police, who met with Mendiz.  He claimed that he only touched the victim’s groin area with the blanket while trying to cover her after she moved.  He further claimed that the victim o moved her leg while he was massaging it, causing part of her private area to be exposed. He said he had to cover it and that’s when the victim told him something along the lines of, “I don’t need that,” authorities said.  The detective said Mendiz changed his story after he was told that the victim completed a rape kit and then claimed that he massaged her hip flexors near her pelvis. He said he didn’t know whether massaging hip flexors was part of Massage Envy protocol, authorities said.

This is the second time an incident like this has happened at this same location. In July 2010, another employee of the Fort Lauderdale franchise was accused of a similar crime.

Juan Pablo Mendiz, age 32, has been licensed as a massage therapist since January 2016 according to the Florida Department of Health records.  Mendiz is no longer employed at Massage Envy.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched at Massage Envy.  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 Massage Envy 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

 

Sexual Abuse of Children in Daycare Centers

pre-school abuse sexual daycare abuse

Parents often rely on child daycare instructors for the safety, development, and growth of their child. The daycare employees provide a critical role and takes on the role of substitute parents during the school week. It is not unusual for daycare instructors to spend more time with a child than a child’s actual parents.

It is every parent’s worst nightmare, but sexual assaults of children do occur in daycares and pre-schools at alarming rates. Our sexual abuse attorneys are experienced in handling child sexual abuse cases in the day care setting. Cases of sexual abuse in day care typically involve multiple victims and multiple perpetrators, and use of extreme threats to prevent disclosure. There are documented cases involving sexual abuse by daycare owners, visitors, employees and even child-on-child sexual assault in daycares.  Due to the large amounts of time children spend in daycare and the enormous trust placed by parents in the daycare makes, this setting presents itself an ideal location for opportunistic perpetrators. Tragically, perpetrators in the daycare may seize upon the trust they are given and the tender age of the children to commit sexual abuse and threaten children into silence.

Toddlers and infants are in the most vulnerable stage of life. Parents have an expectation that a daycare will be operated in a safe manner with only licensed instructors and supervisors having access to children. State law regulates the supervisor-child ratios and the amount of training required of all personnel who interact with your children. Daycares should have a written policies and procedure manual which govern every aspect of the daycare operations, from the bathroom use policy, naptime to taking attendance. Tragically, daycares often make the same mistakes as other businesses, including failing to implement or follow proper safety rules. For instance, we have seen cases where daycares do not adhere to proper supervisor-child ratios or they hire staff without ensuring they have been properly certified or maintained continuing education requirements. Even worse, the daycare may hire an employee without conducting the requisite background check or reviewing employment references.  In other situations, daycares allowed untrained visitors or untrained personnel to volunteer and interact with the children. Any one of these violations of safety protocols can lead to dangerous results for your children.

If someone you know has been a victim of childhood sexual abuse at a day care or pre-school,  contact our law firm at (954) 614-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

Diocese of Ogdensburg Program Underway to Compensate Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse

The Diocese of Ogdensburg has announced an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) to compensate people with claims that they were sexually abused as a child by a member of the clergy in the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Individuals who have made abuse abuse claims with the Diocese of Ogdensburg prior to March 1, 2018, can participate in this voluntary program.  The deadline for victims to submit claims is June 1, 2018.  You should hire an experienced attorney before submitting your claim.

In certain cases, the claims process may involve gathering church sacrament records, school records, witness statements, counseling/therapy records, or photographs to support your claim. For that reason, it is critical you do not wait until the deadline to submit your claim.  It is also essential that you hire an attorney who has previously handled cases involving the IRCP programs in New York State.

The IRCP is intended to compensate victims of child sexual abuse by clergy of the Diocese of Ogdensburg  The program was publicly announced by the Bishop LaValley of the Diocese of Ogdensburg on March 1, 2018.  This announcement follows the lead of Archdiocese of New York, Diocese of Brooklyn, and Diocese of Rockville Centre who employed similar programs.  Since that time, dozens of victims across New York State dating back to the 1950’s have submitted claims. It has not yet been determined how the Diocese of Ogdensburg will treat claimants who did not previously report their abuse.  The Archdiocese of New York, Diocese of Brooklyn, and Diocese of Rockville Centre have in the past agreed to compensate persons who did not previously report the abuse — and victim advocates are hopeful that the Diocese of Ogdensburg will do the same.

The Diocese of Ogdensburg’s geographical area spans eight counties in New York – Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties — plus the northern portion of Hamilton and Herkimer counties.  The Diocese includes 119 parishes, and also include churches, schools, convents, seminaries, hospitals, colleges, and other ministries.  The Catholic population of the Diocese of Ogdensburg is estimated to be nearly 143,000.

Sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz has many years of experience handling claims on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse throughout New York.  If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual abuse by any priest or clergymen affiliated with the Diocese of Ogdensburg, please e-mail attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100 to discuss your claim against the Diocese of Ogdensburg and learn if you are eligible for monetary compensation.  Attorney Adam Horowitz offers confidential, free evaluations of your sexual abuse claim involving priests and clergy of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Diocese of Buffalo Program Underway to Compensate Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse

The Diocese of Buffalo has announced an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) to compensate people with claims that they were sexually abused as a child by a member of the clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo.  According to published reports, more than forty two priests of the Diocese of Buffalo have been accused of child sexual abuse.  Some, but not all, of those priests are now deceased.

Individuals who have made abuse abuse claims with the Diocese of Buffalo prior to March 1, 2018, can participate in this voluntary program.  The deadline for victims to submit claims is June 1, 2018.  You should hire an experienced attorney before submitting your claim.

In certain cases, the claims process may involve gathering church sacrament records, school records, witness statements, counseling/therapy records, or photographs to support your claim. For that reason, it is critical you do not wait until the deadline to submit your claim.  It is also essential that you hire an attorney who has previously handled cases involving the IRCP programs in New York State.

The IRCP is intended to compensate victims of child sexual abuse by clergy of the Diocese of Buffalo.  The program was publicly announced by the Bishop Malone of the Diocese of Buffalo on March 1, 2018.  This announcement follows the lead of Archdiocese of New York, Diocese of Brooklyn, and Diocese of Rockville Centre who employed similar program.  Since that time, dozens of victims across New York State dating back to the 1950’s have submitted claims. It has not yet been determined how the Diocese of Buffalo will treat claimants who did not previously report their abuse.  The Archdiocese of New York, Diocese of Brooklyn, and Diocese of Rockville Centre have in the past agreed to compensate persons who did not previously report the abuse — and victim advocates are hopeful that the Diocese of Buffalo will do the same.

The Diocese of Buffalo’s geographical area spans eight counties in Western New York state.  The Diocese includes more than 150 parishes, which also include churches, schools, convents, seminaries, hospitals, colleges, and other ministries.  The Catholic population of the Diocese of Buffalo is estimated to be nearly 700,000.

Sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz has many years of experience handling claims on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse throughout New York, including cases with the Diocese of Buffalo.  If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual abuse by any priest or clergymen affiliated with the Diocese of Buffalo, please e-mail attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100 to discuss your claim against the Diocese of Buffalo and learn if you are eligible for monetary compensation. Attorney Adam Horowitz offers confidential, free evaluations of your sexual abuse claim involving priests and clergy of the Diocese of Buffalo.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in America

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in America. The month is dedicated to raising awareness and preventing child abuse to ensure that every child grows up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is free from abuse and neglect. At Horowitz Law, we believe EVERY month should be Child Abuse Prevention Month and we are dedicated to employing all of our resources toward that goal.

The prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often not reported; experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report Child Maltreatment 2010 found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted.

Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that

  • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
  • Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Children are most vulnerable to child sexual abuse between the ages of 7 and 13.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has filed countless sexual misconduct claims on behalf of children who have been sexually abused in a variety of settings including schools, churches, daycare, camps, and youth activities Iff you or a family member have a been a victim of child sexual abuse, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz  at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

Diocese of Buffalo Discloses List of Priests Accused of Child Sexual Abuse

At long last the Diocese of Buffalo has publicly disclosed the complete list of Diocese priests who have been accused of child sexual abuse since 1950.  The disclosure comes at a time when many Dioceses in New York State are announcing compensation programs for victims of abuse by its priests.  The Diocese of Buffalo recently unveiled its own program.

Below is a complete list of the names of the Catholic priests disclosed by the Diocese of Buffalo:

  • John R. Aurelio  (2009)
  • Donald W. Becker
  • David M. Bialkowski
  • Robert J. Biesinger  (2012)
  • James H. Cotter  (1991)
  • Donald S. Fafinski
  • Douglas F. Faraci
  • Fred G. Fingerle  (2002)
  • Michael R. Freeman  (2010)
  • Joseph P. Friel  (1995)
  • Mark M. Friel
  • Thomas G. Gresock
  • John P. Hajduk
  • Michael J. Harrington  (1989)
  • Brian M. Hatrick
  • James P. Hayes (1988)
  • Louis J. Hendricks (1990)
  • J. Grant Higgins  (2016)
  • Francis T. Hogan  (2010)
  • Fred D. Ingalls
  • Florian A. Jasinski (1983)
  • Gerald C. Jasinski
  • Richard P. Judd (1988)
  • Timothy J. Kelley
  • Thomas L. Kemp
  • Richard J. Keppeler (2011)
  • John D. Lewandowski (1982)
  • Bernard M. Mach  (2004)
  • Loville N. Martlock (2014)
  • Thomas J. McCarthy
  • Basil A. Ormsby (1997)
  • Norbert F. Orsolits
  • Martin L. Pavlock
  • Roy K. Ronald (2013)
  • Joseph E. Schieder (1996)
  • Gerard A. Smyczynski (1999)
  • James A. Spielman
  • Chester S. Stachewicz (2010)
  • Edward J. Walker  (2002)
  • William G. Ward (2008)
  • William F. J. White  (2016)
  • Robert W. Wood

Those priests who are deceased have the year of their death next to their name.

The Diocese of Buffalo has created a compensation program to offer settlements to victims of sexual abuse by clergy of the Diocese of Buffalo.  The Diocese  of Buffalo includes parishes and other ministries in eight counties in Western New York State.  Attorney Adam Horowitz is currently assisting survivors of abuse in this claims process.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual abuse by a clergyman affiliated with the Diocese of Buffalo, please e-mail attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100 to discuss your claim against the Diocese and learn if you are eligible for compensation.   Attorney Adam Horowitz is offering confidential, free evaluations of your sexual abuse claim involving priests of the Diocese of Buffalo.

Kenneth Bannister massage arrest

Bradenton Massage Therapist Arrested For Sexual Misconduct at Elements Massage

Bradenton massage therapist Kenneth Geren Bannister has been arrested on a charge of Sexual Misconduct in the Practice of Massage Therapy The arrest involves an alleged incident at Elements Massage on June 17, 2018 in which Bannister reportedly used his position as a massage therapist to engage in sexual activity with a female client.  Under Florida law, all sexual contact between a massage therapist and client is prohibited. Bannister has been licensed as a massage therapist since 2013.

According to public records from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the victim reported to law enforcement that Kenneth Bannister tied to kiss her at the end of the massage appointment but she moved her head away to avoid contact.  He then allegedly grabbed her breasts and moved his hands underneath the victim’s underwear and inserted his finger into her vagina. The police report then describes that Mr. Bannister allegedly moved the victim’s underpants aside and inserted his penis into his client’s vagina and eventually ejaculated.  When questioned by police, Bannister admitted to the sexual intercourse but told law enforcement it was “consensual.”

Elements Massage, where Kenneth Bannister was employed on the date of the alleged incident, is one of the fastest growing therapeutic massage franchises in the nation, with more than 240 locations in the United States and Canada.

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, 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 Therapist at Fountainbleau Hotel’s Lapis Spa Arrested Due to Sexual Misconduct Allegation

Massage therapist Sebastian Fomenko, who last worked at the Lapis Spa in the Fountainbleau Hotel in Miami Beach, has been arrested on a sexual battery charge.  It is alleged that on December 31, 2017 he inserted one or two fingers into his 25-year old client’s vagina during a massage appointment at the Lapis Spa.  According to the alleged victim, he also exposed her buttocks and rubbed her breasts with oil without her consent.  The client immediately reported the incident to her family and then to the Miami Beach Police Department.

When questioned by police, Mr. Fomenko reportedly admitted to touching the client’s breasts and inserting his fingers into her vagina.  A nurse examined the client and observed physical signs indicative of digital penetration.  On account of this incident, the Florida Department of Health issued an Emergency Order prohibiting Sebastian Fomenko from practicing massage therapy on female clients.

According to the Department of Health, prior to the December 31, 2017 incident, another female client previously reported to the Lapis Spa staff that Mr. Fomenko rubbed his erect penis against her body.  This incident was not reported to law enforcement or to the Florida Department of Health.  Instead, Lapis Spa continued to employ Mr. Fomenko.  According to the Department of Health, Sebastian Fomenko has been licensed since August 2009.

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.  This is a sad reminder that even at luxury location such as Lapis Spa in the famed Fountainbelau Hotel incidents like this can and do occur,

If you have a been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery 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

 

 

 

 

Michael Hands, Former Priest of Diocese of Rockville Centre, Dies of Apparent Suicide in Jail

Michael Hands, a 51-year old former priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, was found dead in his jail cell in upstate New York of an apparent suicide.  Hands was serving prison time for sexually abusing a 14-year-old Long Island boy in August 2000.  His death came just days after he was sentenced to up to eight years in prison after pleading guilty last month to two counts of third-degree criminal sexual act with a minor.  Hands, who was reportedly a victim of abuse himself, had previously been convicted in 2003 of molesting a 13-year-old boy on Long Island. He served two years in prison and cooperated with a grand jury investigation into abusive priests on Long Island at the time.

Father Hands has admitted to sexual contact with a a child under the age of 17 on two occasions in July in the upstate town of Charlton, according to news reports. Investigators   said that he began a relationship with the boy online and then met the victim in person.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre has created a compensation program to offer settlements to victims of sexual abuse by clergy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Father Michael Hands is one of the priests who has been the subject of multiple complaints of childhood sexual abuse.  The Diocese includes parishes and other ministries in Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York.  Attorney Adam Horowitz is currently assisting survivors of abuse in this claims process.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual abuse by Father Michael Hands or some other clergyman affiliated with the Diocese of Rockville Centre, please e-mail attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100 to discuss your claim against the Diocese and learn if you are eligible for compensation.   Attorney Adam Horowitz is offering confidential, free evaluations of your sexual abuse claim involving priests of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

What Should You Do If Your Child Was Sexually Abused at Daycare?

Daycare sexual lawsuit

Attorney Adam Horowitz has many years of experience representing children who have been sexually abused or otherwise neglected at daycares and pre-school. Horowitz Law has obtained justice in lawsuits against large national companies and local daycares and pre-schools. In some cases, we have represented multiple victims of the same perpetrator. It is often the case that after one child comes forward with an account of abuse 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 a perpetrator may provide support to other child victims in telling their story.

Child sex abuse cases involving abuse in a daycare are heartbreaking, emotional cases which require a legal team who has experience handling these cases. There is a complex web of regulations from the Department of Children & Families which apply to every aspect of daycare including adult supervision, licensing requirements, staff: child ratios, nap times, and a variety of safety rules. In addition to contacting a civil attorney to find out your family’s rights, there are others to whom you should report a sexual assault of a child at daycare or pre-school:

  1. Notify the police department or other law enforcement agency in the city where the sexual assault occurred.It is important that you report the assault in full detail to civil authorities so that the perpetrator can be exposed and held criminally responsible where appropriate.
  2. Notify the Department of Children & Families in the state where the daycare or pre-school is located.You should submit a report in writing which details all inappropriate contact. Remember — it is not you or child’s fault that the perpetrator touched your child in a sexual manner and it is not your child’s fault if the child did not immediately stop the perpetrator or report the misconduct. Sexual abuse is a frightening and confusing experience for a child, particularly when it is committed by an adult authority figure trusted by the child’s parents. The Department of Children & Families is authorized to impose a variety of sanctions against Daycare facilities, ranging from removing a license to monetary fines to public reprimand. Sanctions against a Daycare facility may become a public record and you can protect other children from being exposed to a potential sexual trauma by reporting an assault to the Department of Children & Families.  There are several large national Daycare Centers in the United States including Top of the World Preschool, Challenger School, KinderCare Learning Centers, La Petite Academy, and Bright Horizons Child Care Centers.  Because of the sheer volume of children under their supervision, it is especially critical that these large businesses make child safety the highest priority and adopt policies and procedures to ensure that everything that can possibly be done is done to eliminate the risk of sexual misconduct at one of their facilities.
  3. Contact a therapist. After a traumatic event, it is typical for children to have feelings of anxiety, guilt, stress, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, depression, restlessness or fear, making it difficult to adjust or cope for some time afterwards. You may also witness a child sexually acting out or having sexual boundary issues with other children or adults. Survivors of sexual trauma may also experience severe feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear, known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As important as it is to notify an attorney and civil authorities about a sexual trauma, there is no substitute for also receiving therapy from a trained professional.

If your child or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault in a daycare or pre-school, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an e-mail to attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com