Tag: Palm Beach County sex abuse attorney

Edy Velasquez Horowitz Law

Palm Beach Behavioral Health Tech Arrested For Sexual Misconduct with Patient

On January 3, 2022, Edy Velasquez, was arrested and charged with sexual misconduct.  The arrest stems from a complaint by a former patient that Velasquez sexually assaulted her on January 29, 2021. Edy Velasquez, age 53, was a behavioral health technician at substance abuse and mental health facility in Lantana, Florida when the alleged sexual misconduct occurred. Velasquez is not licensed by the Department of Health.  He previously worked at Desert Rose Recovery Center in Palm Beach Gardens.

According to the probable cause arrest affidavit and media reports, the female patient contacted the Lantana Police Department on March 24, 2021, after she discovered the facility never reported her assault. She told law enforcement that while she was a patient at the now-closed recovery center in Lantana from January 3, 2021-February 3, 2021, she was sexually assaulted by a male behavioral health technician, Edy Velasquez on January 29, 2021. In a detailed sworn statement, the alleged victim stated that Velasquez entered her living quarters, uninvited, while her roommate was out. On the first incident, he forcibly kissed her.  He later returned at approximately 11:30 p.m., threw her on the bed, moved her underwear to the side, and digitally penetrated her vagina while making threats of harm. She also said that he tasted his fingers and commented, “man you taste good.” She also said that Velasquez told her not to tell anyone.

The alleged victim said she told her roommate and a staff member of the recovery center the following day but did not want to press charges at that time as she was afraid of the alleged perpetrator. During the investigation, the facility’s employees were uncooperative with law enforcement according to the arrest affidavit.  Investigators subpoenaed records and noted that the recovery center did not follow protocol in documenting  and reporting the incident correctly according to Florida Statutes. Notably, treatment records for the victim from the facility were found for every day except January 29, the day of the alleged incident.

In May 2021, the victim wanted to press charges against Edy Velasquez, stating she has been mentally distraught by the abuse. The victim turned in to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office Lab the underwear she had on when Velasquez touched her that was sealed in a plastic bag along with a chain of custody form stating anyone that came in contact with the underwear since the abuse. During the investigation, Velasquez was ordered to provide a DNA sample. Investigators concluded that Velasquez and the alleged victim’s DNA was detected on the outside and inside crotch of underwear. This was enough evidence to arrest Velasquez.

Prior to Velasquez obtaining employment in mental health facilities he was employed as a sergeant with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.  In 2008, Palm Beach County Former Sergeant Eddie Velasquez  was placed on administrative as he was one of six corrections deputies arrested in connection with an overtime fraud scheme that cost Palm Beach County over $350,000.  Velasquez faced 2nd and 3rd degree felony charges in the case, but pleaded guilty to lesser charges and agree to resign from the Sheriff’s Office.

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against medical professionals on behalf of patients who were inappropriately touched in their care.  Under no circumstances is a doctor, nurse, or health care provider permitted to have sexual contact with a patient.  If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery at a medical office or facility, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Michael Wheatley Palm Beach EMT

Lawsuit Filed Against Lakeside Medical Center in Palm Beach County for Sexual Misconduct

On December 16, 2021, Horowitz Law filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court against Lakeside Medical Center due to sexual misconduct by an emergency medical technician, Michael Wheatley, while on duty at the hospital.  Lakeside Medical Center is located at 39200 Hooker Hwy, Belle Glade, FL 33430. Michael Wheatley received his  EMT license with the Department of Health in 2001.

Allegations in the Complaint

According to the client, on January 5, 2018, he was admitted at Lakeside Medical Center due to numbness of the neck and symptoms of a stroke. 

The victim reported to the hospital that he was sexually assaulted by the EMT on duty, Michael Wheatley. He stated that he went to the emergency room due to numbness in his neck and shoulders and was treated by Wheatley, who held himself out to be a nurse. The victim stated that Wheatley was dressed in scrubs and entered the victim’s treatment room. Wheatley began making small talk, saying they had the same birthday and asking questions regarding his medical history. Wheatley requested the patient to take his shirt off, and Wheatley began massaging the patient’s stomach and then back. Assuming this was just part of the assessment, he obliged. Wheatley then told the patient his back felt tight and that he should come to his house some time for a proper massage. The victim replied with “excuse me?’ and Wheatly explained it was one of his specialties. He then told the victim to lay face down on the bed with his arms out and eyes closed. Wheatly then slid the patient’s shorts down, exposing his penis. The patient noticed Wheatley staring at his genitals, and he immediately pulled his shorts back up. He then told the patient to go into another room to get hooked up to a heart rate monitor. After a nurse took his vitals, Wheatley entered the room again. He began asking the patient about his use of Viagra and asked personal and inappropriate questions about it and how “hard” it made him. The patient didn’t reply. Wheatley then asked him for a urine sample. The patient felt his shorts get pulled down and Wheatley’s ungloved hand holding his penis to aid in getting him to urinate.

Wheatley was arrested on April 22, 2019 on sexual battery charges. 

Prior to being hired by Lakeside, Wheatley had been accused of sexually assaulting at least one other male at a previous place of employment, a group home in Lantana, Florida. According to media reports, in 2018, Wheatley was accused of raping a teen at the group home 13 years prior.   That investigation began in March 2018 after the Lakeside report was filed against Wheatley. According to police, Wheatley worked as a group counselor at the home and performed oral sex on a 15-year-old boy, then raped him. Wheatley reportedly confessed to the police, saying the allegations made were true and the boy reported it to the facility at the time of the incident. No actions took place then. He was finally arrested after the Lakeside incident.

A reasonable investigation by Lakeside Human Resources into the fitness of Wheatley’s employment history would have involved an adequate background check of Wheatley, including, but not limited to, checking references, employment history, and public records and/or interview of Wheatley and contacting prior employers.  Lakeside breached its duty of care because it knew or should have known that Wheatley had a history of sexual misconduct and/or that he was otherwise unfit to work in an emergency room setting with patients. 

Michael Wheatley’s Current Status

At this time, Michael Wheatley has been arrested twice and charged both times with sexual assault and battery. He pleadd guilty and was sentenced to 5 years probation and is a registered sex offender in Florida.

Get the Help You Need

Finding the right medical provider can be challenging. We seek out seasoned professionals who possess a good bedside manner, compassion, and empathy. When we do finally decide on one, we hope to feel better over time, not be violated by the very person with whom we place our trust. It is both unacceptable and unlawful for a healthcare professional to touch a patient in any sexual manner or practice any sexual misconduct while treating the patient. We also expect hospitals and employees of healthcare professionals to due their background checks and due diligence when hiring staff to treat patients.

All EMT/Paramedics in Florida are licensed by the Florida Department of Health. If your EMT or any healthcare provider makes any sexual contact with you, it violates professional ethics and may be a crime. In addition to reporting misconduct to law enforcement, if this incident occurs in Florida, you can also file a complaint with the Department of Health at this website: https://www.flhealthcomplaint.gov 

Horowitz Law has handled numerous sexual abuse cases involving abuse by healthcare professionals. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted by a physician or at a doctor’s office or hospital, it is important to have experienced legal counsel. We are experienced in handling cases involving sexual assault by doctors and other medical personnel. If you have a been a victim of sexual assault by a doctor in a hospital or medical office, 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 

Xavier Alexander palm beach sexual abuse

Palm Beach County Teacher, Babysitter Xavier Alexander Arrested for Soliciting Sex With 2-Year Old

A Palm Beach County teacher at Grove Park Elementary and local babysitter, Xavier Alexander, was arrested on Friday, April 2, 2021, on charges of solicitation of a minor and traveling to meet a minor.  He was later charged with felony sexual battery on children whom he was responsible for babysitting.

Xavier Alexander, age 27, has been a fourth-grade teacher at Grove Park Elementary School in Palm Beach Gardens since 2017. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office state that he has been accused of purchasing a box of condoms with the intention of having a “sexual encounter” with a 2-year-old girl.

According to the Probably Cause Affidavit released by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation started when a 39-year-old father of a two-year-old child posted an ad on Craigslist on March 26, 2021, asking for someone to share and split the cost of a motel room during their transition period while moving. The man reportedly mentioned in the ad had a two-year-old daughter and requested that no “weirdos” or drug users inquire about the offer.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Xavier Alexander responded to the ad through text message and asked, “Would I ever be alone with your daughter?” The father replied no, to which Alexander replied, “Ah well, I think ill go elsewhere good luck.”

The father contacted law enforcement immediately after the text exchange, and police began impersonating the father in messages to the unknown phone number. They told the messenger that he could be alone with the child if he paid for two nights at the motel, which would cost $200. Reports show the following conversation between Alexander and the undercover deputy, posing as the toddler’s father:

Deputy: “hey if I let you spend time with my daughter would you pay for the whole room?” 

Alexander: “at this point is too late for tonight but totally tomorrow and I can do a couple days

Deputy: “your not gonna hurt her right? shes young

Alexander: “No i wont hurt her” 

Deputy: “I just want to know what your plans are so i know”

Alexander: “Just spend time alone with her” 

Deputy: “youll at least wear a condom right? I wanna know shes safe” 

Alexander: “Yes i will”

According to the arrest report, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office Operations Team then set up a sting operation at a Super 8 motel, located at 1255 Hypoluxo Road in Lantana, around 4:30 p.m. on April 1. When Alexander arrived at the motel, authorities took him into custody.

The arrest report stated that Xavier Alexander admitted replying to the ad on Craigslist in hopes it would be an opportunity for him to have a sexual encounter with the 2-year-old female. Investigators reported that Alexander had driven to a Mobil gas station across the street from the motel and had bought a box of condoms. Deputies later found the open box inside his vehicle, as well as one condom inside his shoe. The report also stated that Alexander told the investigators that he had a sexual addiction and that women, men, and bestiality no longer satisfied him, therefore, he wanted to meet a child for sex.  The Sheriff’s Office said Alexander denied ever sexually touching a child but admitted that he had become sexually aroused while babysitting and grazing over their genitals.

During a court appearance on April 2, a judge said Alexander can’t “possess or use any electronic devices or access the Internet, can’t have any weapons, can’t contact the alleged victim, victim’s family, witnesses, or any minors under the age of 18, and can’t have any contact with schools or daycares.”

The Palm Beach County School District stated that the principal of Grove Park Elementary School had a letter from the district sent to Alexander in jail, notifying him that his employment at the school was terminated effective immediately. 

The School District released a statement regarding Alexander’s arrest, saying they are “shocked and appalled by the nature of the crimes.” A spokesperson said the school district is “cooperating fully with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office,” adding that the alleged crimes did not occur on school property and did not involve district students.

Alexander has taught at several schools and also worked as a summer camp counselor in Palm Beach County. His personnel file shows Grove Park Elementary—where he was the after-school site director since 2017.

Xavier Alexander also worked at Seminole Trails Elementary in West Palm Beach from 2016-2017, Marsh Pointe Elementary in Palm Beach Gardens from 2014-2016, and as a substitute teacher across the Palm Beach County School District. His resume shows he also worked as a summer camp counselor in Palm Beach Gardens and in Jupiter.  Alexander also worked as a nanny/babysitter for families of children with autism and mild cerebral palsy, a pool/kids club attendant for a hotel on Singer Island, and as an intern for Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens.  Investigators said Xavier Alexander listed his babysitting services for hire on the the nanny website Care.com.

Meanwhile, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says it has had “numerous calls” that detectives are now investigating to determine if there are other victims in this case.

It is expected that children will be safe from violence, bullying, harassment, and sexual abuse in educational settings.  Teachers and babysitters are entrusted to facilitate learning and support the educational needs of their students. Someone who sexually violates young children has no place working with minors.  Any business or non-profit in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential teachers and protect the children under their supervision.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in schools, daycares, and other educational settings. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped, or sexually molested by a principal, teacher, school employee, or daycare worker, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

 

MASSAGE ENVY IN ROYAL PALM BEACH TARGETED IN SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWSUIT

MASSAGE ENVY IN ROYAL PALM BEACH TARGETED IN SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWSUIT 

In recent years, Massage Envy has been the subject of multiple allegations of sexual assault of its female clientele. According to media reports, hundreds of clients — almost predominantly women — throughout the country have come forward reporting that they were sexually assaulted by massage therapists. Most recently, Horowitz Law has filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County on behalf of an adult female client alleging that she was sexually assaulted in April 2018 by her massage therapist Juan Parra at the Massage Envy franchise in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.

The lawsuit alleges that during a massage appointment on April 2018, massage therapist Juan Pablo Parra made unsolicited sexual contact with his female client.  The Plaintiff claims that in the final minutes of the massage, the massage therapist placed both of his hands directly on her breasts and began massaging and grabbing them. He then began moaning and moving his hands down toward her vagina according to the Complaint.The lawsuit further alleges he put his hands directly on her genital area. State records show Jaun Parra’s license as a massage therapist expired in August 2019. The incident is alleged to have occurred at the Massage Envy located at 11021 Southern Boulevard, Suite 100, Royal Palm Beach, Florida 3341.  Notably, Parra has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct by a total of three Massage Envy clients.

Horowitz Law has filed dozens of sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched at Massage Envy and other spas and resorts.  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 send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.