Tag: Bernard Torres

Bernard Torres massage Horowitz Law

Jacksonville’s Bernard Torres Surrenders Massage License Following Sexual Misconduct Complaint

Bernard Torres, a Jacksonville massage therapist, surrendered his license to practice massage therapy in Florida, which was accepted and adjudged as a discipline on May 14, 2021, by the Board of Massage Therapy. Following a disciplinary action brought by the Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy alleging sexual misconduct at Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa, Torres agreed to cease practicing immediately and not re-apply for a massage therapist license in Florida. Bernard Torres had been a licensed massage therapist in Florida since 2005.

A Final Order of discipline was entered following an allegation of sexual misconduct made against Torres when he was working at Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa in Jacksonville, Florida.  According to the Department of Health’s Emergency Order, Torres was performing a massage on a 61-year-old female client 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. An Emergency Order was entered in May 2019, which restricted his massage license to practice on male clients only. 

The disciplinary order continues a long and disturbing trend of sexual misconduct by massage therapists statewide, including numerous employees of Hand & Stone franchises. Under Florida law, massage therapists occupy positions of trust, and all sexual activity between the massage therapist and clients is strictly prohibited. 

Torres allegedly violated the massage therapist-patient relationship. 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 at Hand & Stone Spa.  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 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 e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

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.