Tag: Sarasota Sexual Abuse Attoreny

Sarasota Police fear dozens more victims sexually abused by Bishop Henry Lee Porter

Sarasota Police fear dozens more victims sexually abused by Bishop throughout the decades 

On Wednesday, January 8, 2020, Sarasota Police held a press conference on the arrest of former bishop and founder of the Westcoast Center for Human Development, Henry Lee Porter, alerting the public that four more victims have come forward with allegations that he sexually abused them as children. Authorities including the FBI said there are potentially dozens more victims. 

The recent investigation into 72-year-old Henry Lee Porter, Sr. was initiated in October 2019, after Sarasota Police were notified of a Facebook video titled “Art of Manipulation — My survival of Molestation” from a user who said he was sexually abused as a child by a bishop at Westcoast Center for Human Development. The victim told detectives that his first memory of sexual abuse started at 15 and continued until he was 21. It included “fondling, masturbation, oral and anal sex.”  

A couple of weeks later, a second victim told detectives he was 11 years old when he was sexually battered while under the “care and keeping” of Porter, according to the police affidavit. His parents were away for an extended hospital stay. He was a student at the elementary school run by the Westcoast Center. On January 2, 2020, Porter was arrested for one count of alleged sexual battery of a child under 12 years old, a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. 

Police interviewed more than 20 similar “fact victims” who provided statements outlining the abuse by Porter in various locations including on cross country mission trips and on church-sponsored trips. The victims ranged in age from 12 to 19 at the time of the alleged abuse. According to Porter’s arrest report, when prior investigations were conducted in 1990 and the early 2000s, which revealed an anonymous letter that named 40 of Porter’s child sexual abuse victims, the statute of limitations prevented criminal charges. 

Many lifelong Sarasota residents, including Fredd Atkins, wasn’t surprised to hear about Porter’s arrest.

“This story has been running around this community for 40 to 50 years with this man,” he said. “There’s a lot of people around here that are burned by this. Outside of here, too. It’s not a local secret. This is international — this man has been all over the world.”

Police say a number of factors have come into play that allowed them to bring the case to the State Attorney’s Office. The evidence substantiates the child sexual abuse allegations, it’s within the statute of limitations, and they have a victim who is willing to testify.  Porter’s child sexual abuse victims are encouraged to come forward and give statements to Police as it provides credibility to other victims and potentially reveal details that can help with the current case. Additionally, Police say they can provide resources to help alleged victims with the healing process.

The role of pastors in the church is to support the spiritual needs of their parishioners. Education and often counseling and guidance in times of need are responsibilities with which they are entrusted. A trusted clergyman who sexually violates young children has no place working in the Church. Any ministry in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential priests and protect their parishioners. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by clergyman in Florida.  If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a priest or other clergy, 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.

 

 

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.