Tag: Florida Sexual Abuse Attorney

Cape Coral Pizza Shop Owner Harry Kaltsounis Sentenced to Jail for Child Abuse of Teen Workers

Harry Kaltsounis, the owner of Cape Coral’s Pizza Depot, has pleaded to guilty to charged that he sexually abused two underage employees at his pizza shop.  According to the Lee County State Attorney’s Office, Kaltsounis, 62, pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse and one count of battery for actions against two teenage girls who worked for him in 2017.  On October 1, 2018, Kaltsounis was sentenced to one year in Lee County Jail and 48 months of probation.

Kaltsounis owned Pizza Depot on SW Pine Island Road in Cape Coral.  The restaurant is now under new management.   According to the police records, Kaltsounis harassed the girls during their summer job by rubbing against them, requiring them to wear very short shorts, kissing them, groping their vaginal area over their clothing, and embarrassing them in front of other employees.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has many years of experience representing minors who were subjected to sexual abuse. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted in the workplace or anywhere else, it is important to have experienced legal counsel. Please call attorney Adam Horowitz at (954) 641-2100 or send an e-mail at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

 

What Should You Do if a Massage Therapist is Sexually Inappropriate?

Attorney Adam Horowitz is among the most experienced attorneys in the country in representing survivors of sexual assault by massage therapists (otherwise known as masseuses).  He has represented dozens of persons sexually assaulted by massage therapists and obtained justice in countless cases against large national chain spas, luxury hotels, and local spas.  An explosive Buzzfeed News investigation in which Adam Horowitz was quoted blew the cover off the massage industry and exposed the fact that over 180 people had reported sexual misconduct at Massage Envy franchises nationwide.

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.

In most jurisdictions, sexual contact by a massage therapist is a crime and can result in the massage therapist losing his professional license.  In addition to contacting a civil attorney to find out your rights in a lawsuit, there are others to whom you should also report a sexual assault by a massage therapist:

  1. Notify the police department or other law enforcement agency in the city where the massage occurred.  It is important that you report the assault in full detail to criminal authorities so that the massage therapist can be exposed and held criminally responsible where appropriate.
  2. Notify the Department of Health in the state where the massage therapist is licensed. You should submt a report in writing detailing all inappropriate contact initiated by the massage therapist.  Remember — it is not your fault that the massage therapist touched you in a sexual manner and it is not your fault if you did not immediately stop the perpetrator.  When you go into a massage, you are expecting a relaxing experience from a trained professional.  You are not expecting the massage therapist to initiate sexual contact.  In most jurisdictions, the Department of Health or Board of Massage Therapy will commence an investigation of the massage therapist upon receiving a sexual assault allegation.  The Department is authorized to impose a variety of remedies, ranging from removing a message therapist’s licenses to suspension to public reprimand.  Sanctions against a massage therapist may become a public record and you can protect other clients from being exposed to a potential sexual assault reporting an assault to the Department of Health.
  3. Contact a therapist.  After a traumatic event, it is typical to have feelings of anxiety, stress, intrusive thoughts, depression, restlesness or fear, making it difficult to adjust or cope for some time afterwards. In particular, survivors of sexual trauma may experience severe feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear, known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While it is natural to have some of these symptoms after a traumatic event, if they last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, it might be 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 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

Horowitz Law Obtains Jury Verdict of Over $70 Million for Yacht Rape Victim

Endless Summer

Horowitz Law and co-counsel Edwards Pottinger LLC obtained a jury verdict of over seventy million dollars ($70,000,000.00) on behalf of a young woman who was raped by a co-worker on a luxury yacht docked in Fort Lauderdale, Florida  This is one of the largest jury verdicts ever obtained for a victim of sexual assault in a lawsuit filed in the State of Florida.

The lawsuit was filed against Island Girl, the company that owned the yacht and employed the victim and perpetrator.  The victim and her assailant (Rafal Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki) lived and worked on the yacht (Endless Summer) while it was undergoing a re-fit at a marina.  The rape occurred on the Endless Summer, a 150-foot vessel that was berthed at Universal Marine Center, 2700 SW 25th Terrace in Fort Lauderdale, in the early morning of Feb. 25, 2015.

 Rafal Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki was arrested and charged with four counts of sexual battery after the woman reported he entered her cabin drunk and forced her to have sex with him, threatening to kill her if she did not comply. He pleaded guilty in December 2016 and served a two-year sentence. He was later deported to Poland.

The lawsuit alleged that Island Girl failed to provide the victim with a safe place to live and work. The victim, the captain and Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki were required to stay on board  Endless Summer overnight.  The victim was employed full-time on the yacht as a stewardess but was not issued a walkie-talkie to alert anyone on board that something was wrong.  Similarly, there was no meaningful enforcement of the ship’s rule that prohibited crew from returning to the ship under the influence of alcohol.

The Broward County jury awarded the woman 66 million dollars for pain and suffering, plus $70,000 dollars in lost wages, and $4.2 million dollars in lost future earnings.   She was also awarded $290,050 in past and future medical expenses.   Horowitz Law is pleased to obtain this meaningful measure of justice for this client.

Sadly, sexual abuse can occur on yachts, cruise ships, boats, and ships of all shapes and sizes. There are a particular set of laws, known as maritime laws, that apply to incidents that occur on ships.  Horowitz Law handles sexual abuse cases on behalf of passengers and ship employees.  Sexual cases on yachts, cruiseships and other boats involve specific kinds of claims that are unique to maritime law.  Persons who are sexually assaulted on a ship should always consult with experienced sexual abuse lawyers who have handled these claims.  If you or someone you know has been sexually abused or assaulted on a ship, contact attorney Adam Horowitz at 954-641-2100 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to learn your rights.

Broward County Teacher Removed After THIRD Allegation of Sexual Misconduct With a Minor

Teacher Wyman Gresham of Lauderhill Stem-Med Magnet School in Lauderhill, Florida, has been accused of sexual misconduct with a minor for the third time. He is finally being removed from the classroom by the Broward County School Board.

According to state records, while working for the school district in 1998, Gresham allegedly offered money to a 13-year old female “if she would strip for him and perform sexual acts.”  A second allegation of misconduct followed in 2002 when Gresham was working at Dillard High School.  This time, a female student alleged that he touched her on her hip area and made inappropriate comments and gestures about sexual acts.  Despite those two complaints and an administrative finding of “gross immorality”, Gresham was able to keep his teaching certificate and remain employed by the Broward County School board.

Schools should always make child safety the highest priority.  School districts must take every measure to ensure they do not employ adults who may be unfit to be around children or pose a risk of sexual misconduct.

Sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in handling claims for students who are victims of sexual misconduct by teachers in the State of Florida.  You can reach Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

Sarasota Massage Envy Employee Arrested Again After Two Women Report Sexual Misconduct

Ruslan “Russell” Grushco, a massage therapist at Massage Envy in Sarasota, Florida has been arrested and is facing two battery charges after female clients reported that he committed sexual misconduct during massage sessions.  Ruslan Grushco, age 44, had been employed at Massage Envy located at 1279 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.  He was also self-employed at his private, in-home massage business, Magic of Massage.

According to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, Grushco is no longer employed at Massage Envy because he solicited customers to become private clients.  However, former instructors, clients, and co-workers told detectives that Grushco had a history of “inappropriate and unprofessional conduct.”   One of the alleged victims reported that Grushco told her he had low vision and was legally blind during an appointment at Massage Envy.  The Massage Envy chain was part of a Buzzfeed News investigation last November which reported that said more than 180 people have reported being assaulted by Massage Envy massage therapists.

According to the Department of Health, Grushco became licensed to practice massage therapy in May 2017.

Update:  Ruslan Gruscho has now been arrested on a new charge of molesting a minor when she was between the ages of 10 and 12.  The alleged victim said Gruscho would watch explicit television shows with her and ask to mimic the actions on the program.

Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in handling claims according the country for dozens of victims of sexual assault by massage therapists, including at Massage Envy, Massage Luxe, Hand & Stone Massage, Massage Green, Elements Massage, Massage Heights, Planet Beach Spray & Spa, 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.

 

 

Lakeland Psychotherapist Anthony Conti, Jr. Arrested Again After Seventh Patient Reports Sexual Misconduct

Anthont Conti Sexual therapistAnthony H. Conti, Jr., a 72-year old licensed mental health counselor in Lakeland, Florida, has been arrested on an additional charge after a seventh female patient he was supposed to be counseling accused him of sexual misconduct.  According to public record, Conti has been licensed in Florida since 1982.  The Lakeland Police Department detectives report that Conti touched women in their genital area and breasts during visits to his office at 1962 E. Edgewood Drive in Lakeland.  According to police records, Conti admitted to touching one of the women during a recorded conversation.

The Florida Department of Health charged Mr. Conti with professional misconduct and in October 2016 issued an Emergency Order restricting his professional license.  The October 2016 Order prohibits Conti from providing mental health counseling to female patients.

Sadly, sexual misconduct by licensed health care professionals is far more prevalent than many people realize.  If there are any victims who have not yet reported their abuse by Anthony Conti, we encourage them to promptly contact the Lakeland Police Department and the Florida Department of Health.

Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of sexual assault, including numerous cases related to sexual abuse by health care professionals.  If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual abuse by a doctor or other healthcare professional, please e-mail attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

Maitland Therapist Arrested on Charges of Child Molestation, Polk County Deputies Say

Jessica Lazzara sexualA behavioral therapist who worked at Big Bear Behavioral Health in Maitland, Florida has been arrested on felony charges of molestation of  two children she met through her practice, Polk County deputies announced on May 30, 2017.   Jessica Lazzara, 42, of Mulberry, was fired from Big Bear Behavioral Health after her arrest on May 25.  Lazzara was employed as an intern according to Big Bear Behavioral Health.

Lazzara was baker-acted when law enforcement arrived at the scene.  At a press conference on May 30, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd made the case that Big Bear Behavioral Health did not conduct an adequate investigation of Ms. Lazzara’s background.

Deputies said the charges stem from an incident during a therapy session with children who are eleven and thirteen years old.  Lazzara is charged with lewd molestation, lewd and lascivious conduct, child abuse, battery and indecent exposure.  Lazzara is being held without bail as one of the alleged acts is a capital offense.

Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of sex assault by doctors, mental health counselors, and other health care personnel.  If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual assault, please e-mail attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

Massage Therapist Arrested on Charges He Sexually Assaulted Client at Massage Luxe in Bonita Springs

A massage therapist working at a Massage Luxe in Bonita Springs was arrested in Lee County, Florida on May 8, 2017 on charges he sexually assaulted a female customer while she was at a massage appointment.  According to the arrest warrant, Marc DeTomaso, 54, moved the victim’s underwear and inserted his tongue inside her vagina. The victim immediately left the room and told employees at Massage Luxe to call the police.  The alleged incident reportedly occurred on February 5, 2016.  According to the police report, DeTomaso left the business despite being instructed by the owner to stay until authorities arrived.

Surveillance video from the business, located on Bonita Beach Road, shows the victim frantic as she enters the lobby after leaving the massage room. The alleged victim told law enforcement she was a regular customer of DeTomaso. According to a published report, DeTomaso was arrested in 2007 for drug possession in Collier County, a charge that did not disqualify him from being a therapist. The Department of Health website states that DeTomaso has been licensed as a massage therapist since 2000.

DeTomaso faces one count of sexual battery. He is out on a $25,000 bond.

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. 

Florida Department of Health Files Complaint against Jacksonville Massage Therapist for Alleged Sexual Misconduct

massage envy lawsuit sexual

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has issued an Order of Emergency Restriction of License against massage therapist Colton Nielson alleging that he committed an act of sexual battery upon female client and “constitutes an immediate, serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the citizens of the State of Florida.”  As a result of the Order, Mr. Nielson is immediately restricted from perform massage therapy on female clients.

According to the Emergency Order and the Administrative Complaint filed on January 10, 2017 against Colton Nielson, he inserted his finger into the vagina of his female client during a massage therapy appointment in August 2016.  The DOH alleges that the client did not request, or consent to, Mr. Nielson’s sexual contact.  All sexual contact by a massage therapist upon client constitutes sexual misconduct and a violation of Florida’s Massage Practices Act.

According to the Department of Health, Colton Nielson was employed at Elements Massage Skin and Laser Therapy in Jacksonville, Florida in August 2016.  Elements is located at 12795 San Jose Blvd., Suite 9, Jacksonville, Florida.   According to public records, Nielson has been licensed as a massage therapist since 2013.

In its Complaint, the Department of Health seeks permanent revocation or suspension of Colton Nielson’s professional license.    Xexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz has represented numerous women sexually assaulted by massage therapists.  He stated: “Women who receive massages place great trust in their therapists. There are not many other situations in which a person would be undressed in a prone position in a dimly-lit room with a complete stranger. It is a horrific betrayal when someone goes to a massage for relaxation but gets exploitation. Unfortunately, the massage industry appears to attract an extraordinary number of predators.”

Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of sex assault by massage therapists. He can be reached by contacting our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

Youth Pastor Arrested for Allegedly Impregnating 10 year-old Girl

070116+raymond+vincentFort Lauderdale youth pastor Raymond Vincent, age 46, was arrested after he allegedly impregnated a 10 year-old girl and fled to Haiti.  Vincent has a history of sex-related charges as he was accused of molesting another child in 2011.

Doctors discovered that the young girl was pregnant after she went to the hospital complaining of stomach pain. Police believe that Vincent may have lured the young girl into his home with food. According to local news reports, the girl told the police that while she was sleeping on a couch she awakened to a hand down her pants.  She saw Vincent, who quickly removed his hand from under the blanket, over her. Vincent then pretended to check on another sleeping child to disguise his actions. The young girl then locked herself in the bathroom and alerted her mother. It is not clear whether Vincent allegedly raped the girl before or after the couch incident.

In 2012, Vincent was acquitted of four counts of child molestation while a youth pastor at a Pompano Beach church. He was alleged to have molested a young girl after luring her into his home with food in 2011.

Vincent is being held in Broward County jail without bond facing charges of sex battery and lewd and lascivious conduct.

Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, including cases related to clergy sexual abuse and other and youth serving organizations. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual abuse, please email attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.