The Florida Department of Health (DOH) issued an Emergency Order restricting the massage therapy license of Ruben Dario Saenz on August 29, 2017. According to the DOH, Saenz sexually assaulted a 38-year old female client at a Massage Envy franchise in Wellington, Florida in May 2017. During a massage appointment, Saenz reportedly lowered the draping of his client to expose her breasts. After the breasts were exposed, he allegedly touched her breasts and nipples without consent. The DOH Order states that “Saenz willfully abused his position as a massage therapist to sexually violate a woman who trusted him to act professionally and within the boundaries of generally accepted massage therapy and treatment.” As a result of the Order, Sanez is immediately prohibited from practicing massage therapy on female clients pending a final disciplinary hearing. Saenz has been licensed as a massage therapist in Florida since June 2011.
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.
Farmer Jaffe attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in handling claims nationwide on behalf of victims of sexual assault by massage therapists, including at Massage Envy and other national chains, spas, and hotels. You can reach Adam Horowitz at [email protected] or call our law firm at (954) 603-8394.