Tag: Sexual Abuse Attorney

Ermin Luis Horowitz Law

Naples Massage Therapist Ermin Luis Surrenders License Due to Alleged Sexual Misconduct

Naples massage therapist Ermin Luis surrendered his license to practice massage therapy in Florida which was accepted and adjudged as 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, Luis voluntarily relinquished his massage license, agreed to cease practicing immediately, and not re-apply for a massage therapist license in Florida. Ermin Luis has been a licensed massage therapist in Florida since 2014.

Final Order of discipline was entered following an allegation of sexual misconduct made against Ermin Luis when he was working at Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa, located at 4868 Davis Blvd, South Naples, FL 34104.  On July 24, 2019, Luis performed a massage on a 17-year-old female client. During the massage, Ermin Luis allegedly removed the drape covering the girl’s breasts. He then reportedly touched her breasts and nipples. He was arrested and charged with Battery in Collier County in October 2019. He entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in February 2020. By signing this, Luis agreed that if he does not violate any local, state, or federal laws during a period of four months and completes 25 hours of community services, the criminal charges will be dropped. 

This was Luis’s second offense.  In 2014, just months after getting his license, Luis was arrested in Collier County and charged with one count of resisting an officer with violence. He pleaded no contest. His failure to report the incident to the Board of Massage Therapy violated Department of Health regulations.

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. 

Luis 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.

Alfredo Barreras Horowitz Law

Lake Mary Massage Therapist Alfredo Barreras Gets License Revoked Due to Sexual Misconduct

On May 13, 2021, Lake Mary massage therapist Alfredo Barreras had his license revoked following a disciplinary action brought by the Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy alleging sexual misconduct at Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa. Alfredo Barreras has been a licensed massage therapist in Florida since 2014.

Final Order of discipline was entered following an allegation made against Barreras when he was working at Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa, located at 1210 International Pkwy S, Lake Mary, FL 32746. Barreras was arrested in Seminole County, Florida, on September 8, 2018, due to unlawful sexual contact with a 38-year-old female client during a 60-minute massage on August 7, 2018. The alleged victim told law enforcement that Barreras put his hand under the victim’s underwear and touched her vagina. He exposed her breasts and placed his mouth on both her nipples.

Barreras allegedly admitted to the sexual contact when interviewed by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office on September 7, 2018. However, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office gave notice on November 21, 2018, that they do not intend to file criminal charges against Barreras. The Florida Department of Health issued an Emergency Order restricting Barreras’ massage therapy license on November 28, 2018, on account of this complaint. 

Barreras never replied and did admit the allegations were credible; subsequently, his license has been revoked, and he has to pay a $2,500 fine.

There are numerous pending civil lawsuits involving sexual misconduct against Hand & Stone franchises in the State of Florida. Under Florida law, massage therapists occupy positions of trust, and all sexual activity between the massage therapist and clients is strictly prohibited. 

Barreras violated the massage therapist-patient relationship according to his own admission to law enforcement.  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 email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz  at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

Roberto Herrera Horowitz Law

Wellington Massage Therapist Roberto Herrera Gets License Revoked Due to Sexual Misconduct Complaint

On May 13, 2021, Wellington massage therapist Roberto Herrera had his license revoked following a disciplinary action brought by the Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy alleging sexual misconduct at Zen Message.   Roberto Herrera had been a licensed massage therapist in Florida since 2008.

A Final Order of discipline was entered following an allegation made against Roberto Herrera while he was working at Zen Massage, located at 2465 State Rd 7 #500, Wellington, FL 33414. On July 2, 2020, Herrera performed a 120-minute massage on a 29-year-old female client. During the massage, the client alleges that massage therapist Roberto Herrera positioned her legs so the one was bent to the side, exposing her vaginal area. He then began touching her upper thigh and then on her vaginal area. He began rubbing her vagina and the victim screamed, “OK, no.”

Herrera allegedly said, “I’m sorry, I assumed, never mind.” He apologized to his client stating that he was ashamed, and said that typically when a client books a 2-hour massage, they are looking for that. The alleged victim reported the incident and an Administrative Complaint was filed. Herrera never replied or denied the allegations. The investigative attorney found the allegations credible and therefore concluded that his license be revoked, as well as pay a $2,500 fine.

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.

Herrera was in violation of 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. Sexual activity by any person or persons in any massage establishment is absolutely prohibited.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched at spas and resorts.  A massage therapist is never permitted to have sexual contact with a client.  If you have a 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 (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

 

Florida Massage Therapists Get Licenses Revoked

Multiple Florida Massage Therapists Lose License Due to Sexual Misconduct Complaints

On February 16, 2021, four licensed massage therapists in Florida had their license revoked following disciplinary actions brought by the Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy alleging sexual misconduct. 

These disciplinary Orders continue 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.

Honghua Cai (Tarpon Springs): A Final Order of discipline was entered on February 15, 2021, against Cai’s license following an allegation that while providing a massage to an undercover law enforcement officer on January 24, 2012, Cai touched the officer’s penis six times, offered manual masturbation, and offered to shower with the officer. She also failed to report her nolo contendere plea multiple times and failed to report a DUI in a timely fashion.

Jinhua Jin (Kissimmee): A Final Order of discipline was entered on February 16, 2021, against Jin’s license following an allegation of sexual misconduct at Spa Asia in Kissimmee, FL. On December 11, 2019, Jin performed a massage on an undercover police officer. Jin offered to perform manual masturbation for an additional charge.

Dezhu Ren (Middleburg): A Final Order of discipline was entered on February 16, 2021, against Ren’s license (which has been voluntarily relinquished) following an allegation of sexual misconduct at a Polk County massage establishment. On March 5, 2014, Ren performed a massage on an undercover police officer posing as a client as there were multiple complaints about illegal sexual activity occurring at the studio. Ren asked the “client” to remove his underwear in which he replied, no. Ren pulled down the officer’s underwear and massaged his buttocks and inner thighs. Ren removed the client’s underwear without permission and threw them across the room. Ren offered manual masturbation in which the cop said, “no, you.” Ren then proceeded to rub his penis with both hands until he stopped her. He then notified police surveillance units through a covert audio recording device and placed Ren under arrest.

Hui Feng Li (Jacksonville): A Final Order of discipline was entered on February 16, 2021, against Li’s license following an allegation of sexual misconduct at Florida Oasis Massage and Spa. On June 14, 2017, Li performed a massage on an undercover cop posing as a client. During the massage, Li offered and agreed to perform manual masturbation on the Jacksonville Sheriff.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched at spas and resorts.  A massage therapist is never permitted to have sexual contact with a client.  If you have a 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 (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

 

U.S.T.A. FAILS TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM PEDOPHILE COACH

U.S.T.A. FAILS TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM PEDOPHILE COACH

The United States Tennis Association (U.S.T.A.) is named in a new lawsuit alleging that it failed to protect young tennis players from a well known Bay Area coach arrested twice for repeatedly sexually abusing minors for decades. According to The New York Times, transcripts from the 2010 trial revealed the testimony of one student, alleging sexual abuse by coach Normandie Burgos, but jurors couldn’t reach a verdict.  The judge declared a mistrial. 

Almost a decade later, in August 2019, Burgos’ sentencing to 255 years in prison for 60 counts of child molestation, came as a result of a former student and victim who secretly recorded the coach admitting to sexually abusing a minor. The question begs, however, where was the U.S.T.A.?

Public records show that the U.S.T.A. took no action against Burgos. Additionally, he is not listed in the database of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, an independent body created to track abusive coaches, trainers and those who have access to athletes.

In 2006, one school did fire Burgos and revoked his teaching credentials. In 2020, he was accused of abuse again. Despite this, the U.S.T.A. reportedly continued to give him travel grants, and failed to publicly condemn him. His victims say even though they reported his abuse to the U.S.T.A., nothing was done. 

According to the U.S.T.A. website, such inaction is in direct conflict with its “commitment to respect and safety for every individual participating in a USTA event or program through the use of screening, education and reporting tools. The USTA expects individuals to adhere to Safe Play policies and standards, as well as all other USTA policies, procedures, and practices and applicable external laws and regulations.”

It is expected that institutions in which children learn and develop skills, offer an environment in which they are safe from violence, bullying, harassment, and sexual abuse. Coaches are entrusted to facilitate learning and support the educational and training needs of their players. Anyone who sexually violates children has no place working in the U.S.T.A. Any organization in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential coaches and protect their players. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a coach, principal, teacher or other other school employee, 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.

 

Be Vigilant… Everywhere!

Is there no escape from predators? Evidently, a man has been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting two women AT A SHELTER FOR TORNADO VICTIMS in Tennessee!

https://www.wric.com/video/man-accused-of-drugging-sexually-assaulting-women-at-nashville-shelter-for-tornado-victims/4388614/

There have also been abuse cases involving kids in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers and Border Patrol agents in Texas and Arizona.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/27/us/immigrant-children-sexual-abuse.html

And just this week in St. Louis, Massage Luxe employee Douglas Boyd reportedly abused a client on the job, later found her on Facebook and offered her free massages if she’d withdraw her criminal complaint.

https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/former-central-west-end-massage-therapist-charged-with-sexual-misconduct/article_c3d11ae6-7a65-571b-b1e1-ba5370a08395.html

Last month, we wrote about abuse on airplanes.

https://adamhorowitzlaw.com/sexual-abuse-on-an-airplane-really/

The sad, sad lesson here is that those who want to prey on the vulnerable will do so virtually anywhere they can. So constant vigilance is the best short term remedy, even around purported “Good Samaritans” and those in the “helping professions.”

But employers must also step up their efforts to screen out, as best they can, any prospective workers with troubling pasts (not just those who’ve been convicted of sex crimes in the past).  And they must educate and reassure those they serve that they WANT anyone who sees, suspects or suffers sexual misdeeds to speak up immediately.

And all of us, as consumers, should speak up at businesses and non-profits where abuse cases have been reported, asking “What are you all doing to ensure that more crimes don’t happen in the future?”

By being vigilant, we protect ourselves and our loved ones. And by speaking up, we prod those in positions of power to work harder at prevention.

exual assault survivor resources horowitz law

Resources Available for Sexual Abuse Survivors

Some resources you’re probably not aware of. . . .

Know someone who suffered or is suffering harassment (or worse) on a college campus? Here’s some newly-posted helpful guidance:

https://intoaccount.org/2020/02/21/policies-%E2%89%A0-support/

Know an abuse victim who’s headed for court and wants in-person support? Do you know about Bikers Against Child Abuse?

https://ronproject.com/bikers-support-kids-abuse-court-case/?fbclid=IwAR2Z9E0Gd4vwYO-J5fP61lAEdmfXjW7cpjVY6x-wQGCnpG2_tq2Ye6t10XM

Know someone who was victimized by a priest as an adult? Check out this site:

https://adultsabusedbypriests.com/page/3/

Know anyone who’s concerned about protecting themselves from on-line harassment (or worse)?

Here are a few straightforward, easy and prudent steps to take:

https://slate.com/technology/2020/02/how-and-why-dox-yourself.html

Know anyone who wants to push for legislative measures that protect the vulnerable or expose the abusers? Consider telling them about Child USA, a Philadelphia-based non-profit headed by Professor Marci Hamilton, a widely-respected child advocate and constitutional scholar.

ChildUSA.org 

Check out the SNAP website (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). They have support for people who were hurt in these faith groups: Orthodox Christian, Presbyterian, Amish, Mennonite, Lutheran, Jewish, overseas missions, abused by nuns (a.k.a. “women religious”) or suffered ritual abuse.

https://www.snapnetwork.org/

Does Your Spouse or Friend Sabotage Himself or Herself?

Does your spouse or friend sabotage himself or herself?

We all THINK we know the signs that someone was sexually victimized: Depression, addiction, cutting, excessive anger, criminal behavior, suicidal tendencies, low self-esteem and inability to form or keep intimate relationships.

If only it were so simple. . .If only ALL victims responded to their pain in these predictable ways.

One common response to abuse: self-sabotage. And it’s frustrating when we see a partner, friend or loved one do this.

Have you ever said anything like this:

“She dates nice guys. Everything seems to go well. But out of left field, she tells us she’s dumped another one for some reason that always seems petty.”

“He gets good jobs and works hard, but after a few months, he gets irritated and blows up at his boss or a co-worker and ends up suddenly quitting or getting fired.”

“She’s just one class short of getting her GED. But she won’t take that one final step.”

We may think these kinds of frustrating situations show irrational behavior. But they may show something else: self-sabotage stemming from sexual violence.

We are Horowitz law are not psychiatrists or psychologists. But many mental health professionals have told us that victims of rape or childhood sexual abuse sometimes feel, deep down (and perhaps unconsciously) that they’re “not worthy” or “dirty” or “flawed.” They may feel like at some level they don’t deserve a good career or solid relationship. So they unconsciously undermine their own success.

So if someone you care about seems to self-sabotage, you might do well to gently probe a bit and ask them if they suffered a deep betrayal. You may help them gain self-awareness and get on a path toward recovery.

sexual abuse heal horowitz law

Want to Help A Sexual Abuse Victim Heal? You Can With One Simple Question

Do you want to prevent sexual violence? Want to stop cover ups? Want to help victims heal?  And do you want to know the single best, quickest and easiest way to do that?

Just ask.

That’s right: Just ask people you know if they’ve ever been hurt. Like this: “I feel awkward asking this, but I care about you, so I wonder, have you ever been touched inappropriately or sexually violated in any way?”

At first glance, of course, that seems like an awfully painful subject to bring up, even to a sibling or very close friend.

But it’s worth doing. Just listen or read the news any day. You’ll undoubtedly hear or find stories about child sexual abuse. In every one, you’ll likely notice how long such secrets are kept and the price of such silence.

“Maybe so,” you may think “But I’d feel uncomfortable asking such a personal question.”

But guess what’s even MORE uncomfortable? Learning, down the line, that someone you care about WAS hurt and carried that pain for months or years or decades needlessly, and could have shared it with you and felt better. . .if only you had asked this simple question.

Even worse: Learning, down the line, that the person who hurt your friend or relative KEPT ON hurting others, because no one spoke up earlier or too few people asked this simple question too rarely.

So pick one person who is dear to you, take a deep breath, and just ask them. (As young people say, put on your ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ pants and just do it!)

You may make that person feel less alone. Or you may be relieved to find out that they have been spared awful pain.

Does this actually work?   It sure does.

Look no further than a few days ago, when a Colorado newspaper wrote about when Fr. Lawrence was ‘outed’:

There had been at least three credible allegations of child sexual abuse by St. Peter and there were probably many more victims. ‘Did St. Peter ever lay a hand on you? his dad wanted to know. 

Neil Elms was wading along a lonely stretch of the Housatonic River. Shallow, cold water rushed past him. Autumn leaves painted the surrounding Berkshire Mountains a fiery red.

Confronted with a question he never thought he’d hear, Elms couldn’t lie to his father. He also couldn’t talk, his words smothered by his secret. A decades-long burden bobbed to the surface.

https://coloradosun.com/2020/02/19/lawrence-st-peter-colorado-priest-abuse-story/

Elms said his dad’s question simply shocked him. No one had ever asked about the abuse, in part because they didn’t have a reason to.

Since then, their relationship — which had been rocky since Elms was a teen — has improved dramatically. They speak on the phone frequently.

“I’ve never had so many conversations with my dad in my life,” Elms said. “We touch base every day now just to see how each other is doing, to see how each other are feeling. The only good thing about this report coming out so far has been my reconnection with my dad.”

In a similar case, thirty years ago, a Missouri man decided to sue his perpetrator, Fr. John Whiteley (who has lived in Florida in recent years). One by one, he called his siblings to warn them about the impending news coverage of his litigation.  Three of his brothers disclosed that they too had been hurt by Fr. Whiteley.  (He’s David Clohessy, the former long time director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.)

So, does asking this simple, crucial question help? Absolutely.

If the answer is NO, you can feel reassuring that your loved one isn’t suffering in silence.

And if the answer is YES, you very likely will have helped someone start (or continue) healing from horror.

 

Catholic Church Hides $2 Billion in Assets from Abuse Victim Settlements

Catholic Church Hides $2 Billion in Assets from Abuse Victim Settlements

According to Bloomberg Businessweek in January 2020, a review of court filings by lawyers representing churches and victims over the last 15 years has shown that the Catholic Church in the U.S. has moved around more than $2 billion in assets in an effort to prevent the money from going to alleged abuse victims. Throughout the country churches have been aggressively transferring and reclassifying assets, and filing for bankruptcy, as more victims of sexual abuse by priests have come forward and filed lawsuits.

From the early 1980s through 2002, church leaders paid out roughly $750 million according to BishopAccountability.org, a nonprofit that tracks clergy sex abuse. Since 2004, dioceses have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy more than 20 times. This has allowed the dioceses to reach universal settle­ments and protected them from additional victim claims. 

“The survivors should have gotten that money, and they didn’t,” says Terry McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org. “The Catholic Church has behaved like a business. It hasn’t behaved like a religion that lives by the rules it espouses.”

In 2007, then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, sent a letter to the Vatican requesting permission to move almost $57 million into a trust fund originally meant for maintaining cemeteries. The letter revealed that the purpose of the move was to shield the assets. 

“By transferring these assets to the Trust, I foresee an approved protection from any legal claim and liability,” Dolan wrote.

When the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015, it said it didn’t own the parishes, schools, or the 10 cemeteries within its territory. It claimed only $50 million in assets, while lawyers for victims estimated the archdiocese was worth about $1.7 billion. Ultimately, it reached the largest bankruptcy settlement by an archdiocese giving 450 people a total of $210 million, which averages to about $467,000 each. Some of the money came from church assets and some from insurance.

In New Mexico, to protect funds from settlements, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, has distanced itself from about $178 million since 2012. On average, an archdiocese in bankruptcy will settle with clergy abuse victims for about half the value of its estate. If the Santa Fe archdiocese settles for half the value of the $49 million it says it owns, the 375 victims will each get about $65,000, about one-fifth of the $300,000 they would get if the arch­diocese hadn’t taken $178 million off its ledger.

“The bankruptcy code should not be used to re-victimize victims,” said New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas. “They are really just trying to shield assets.”

According to a 2018 study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, victims of childhood sexual abuse experience increased mental and physical health problems. Additionally, they receive lower earnings, with the cost to a victim of more than $280,000 over a lifetime.

“We realize that nothing can ever adequately compensate those who have been victims of this terrible crime,” Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester said in November, 2018. “Nonetheless, we seek to do all we can by way of publicly acknowledging their pain, offering apologies and providing financial compensation.”

The Roman Catholic Church is the world’s oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution. Church leaders have prioritized the wealth of the archdiocese over making victims whole. Moving around and hiding funds from sexual abuse victims is an outrage, immoral, and callously adds to the suffering these victims are forced to endure. 

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims on behalf of children who were sexually abused by clergy of all religious denominations.  If you or someone you know was sexually abused by a clergy member of any religious faith, 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.