An Orlando area massage therapist, Andres Lopez Ramirez, surrendered his license to practice massage therapy in Florida, which was accepted and adjudged as a discipline after a Final Order of discipline was entered on September 3, 2021, by the Board of Massage Therapy. Following multiple disciplinary actions brought by the Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy alleging sexual misconduct with multiple female client, Andres Lopez Ramirez agreed to cease practicing immediately and not re-apply for a massage therapist license in Florida. Lopez Ramirez has been a licensed massage therapist since March 2017. Among other locations, Andres Lopez Ramirez had work at Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa of Lake Nona, South Park Chiropractic in Orlando, and J. Sterling’s Essential Spa in Winter Park.
On Friday, November 20, 2020, the Florida Department of Health ordered the emergency restriction of Andres Lopez Ramirez’s license, prohibiting his practice of massage therapy on female clients in the State of Florida. The Emergency Order was entered in response to four sexual misconduct complaints by clients at three different business locations. The incidents of sexual assault allegedly occurred at the Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa of Lake Nona, South Park Chiropractic in Orlando, and J. Sterling’s Essential Spa in Winter Park, FL.
According to media reports, in February 2020, Lopez Ramirez performed a full body massage on a 33-year old female client at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa of Lake Nona in Orlando. The session started with her lying face down as usual. During the massage, he instructed her to turn over on her back. Laying face up, he failed to place the sheet high enough to cover her breasts, leaving them completely exposed according to the Order. He reportedly then began rubbing the woman’s breasts, without her consent, leaving her shocked and paralyzed with fear. In early March 2020, Lopez Ramirez resigned from Hand & Stone of Lake Nona. On March 12, the woman went back to the spa and reported that he had touched her inappropriately during the massage.
In June 2020, Lopez Ramirez worked at South Park Chiropractic, when he treated a 52-year old woman he had seen multiple times in the past. The massage started as usual with her laying face down on her stomach. He began massaging her leg, with each stroke getting higher and higher until he reached her inner thigh. Lopez Ramirez allegedly went further and touched her vaginal area with his hand. He then grabbed her. The woman was stunned and just looked at him in shock. He left the room, she got dressed, paid for the massage, and quickly left.
On June 9, 2020, a 48-year old woman and her son arrived at South Park Chiropractic in Orlando for a massage booked prior to her readjustment appointment. She told Lopez Ramirez of the pain she was experiencing in her right arm and index finger and the sciatic pain on her left side. The massage started as usual with her laying face down. He started massaging her back, legs, and hips. He then allegedly adjusted her left leg but failed to re-secure the sheet leaving her vaginal area exposed. As he continued to massage her, he told her she was “very tense.” He then reportedly began to rub between her vagina and anus and over her pudendal nerve with his left thumb. The pudendal nerve is the main nerve of the perineum. It carries sensation from the external genitalia and the skin around the anus and perineum. Stunned, the woman froze initially, but due to his continued rubbing and stimulation of her nerve, her body started experiencing involuntary contractions. As she tensed up, he allegedly told her to “breathe through it.” Lopez Ramirez then told her to turn over on her back. He covered her with the sheet but did not secure it. He massaged her shoulders, arms, and upper chest area. When he rotated her arm, the sheet fell exposing her breasts. When he finished the massage, he told her to see him again. She dressed and went to the waiting room until she was called to be seen by the chiropractor. When the chiropractor saw her, he asked if she was okay and requested she speak with him privately in the back room. She started to cry and the chiropractor asked his wife to speak with her. The woman told her she was inappropriately touched during the massage and Lopez Ramirez was immediately fired. The woman reported the incident to Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
On September 26, 2020, a 66-year old woman booked a one-hour deep tissue massage at J. Sterling’s Essential Spa in Winter Park. As she lay face down, Andres Lopez Ramirez failed to secure the sheet covering her. While he massaged her legs, he spread them apart, making her uncomfortable. He then allegedly placed his hand between her legs and touched her vaginal area with his fingers. He asked, “Is this ok?” Shocked and feeling violated she said “no.” She turned over on her back, and he finished the session. When she dressed and left the room he told her she was tense and should continue to get more massages.
The disciplinary order continues a long and disturbing trend of sexual misconduct by massage therapists statewide. Under Florida law, massage therapists occupy positions of trust, and all sexual activity between the massage therapist and clients is strictly prohibited.
Lopez Ramirez allegedly violated the massage therapist-patient relationship multiple times. A massage therapist may not use his relationship with a client 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.
Attorney Adam Horowitz has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched during a massage or spa service. A massage therapist is never permitted to have sexual contact with a client. If you have 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 (888) 283-9922 or e-mail sexual abuse lawyer, Adam Horowitz today.