The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has issued an Emergency Order restricting the massage therapy license of David Nazario on July 17, 2017. According to the DOH, Nazario sexually assaulted a 41-year old female client at a Hand and Stone franchise in Orlando, Florida in May 2017. During a massage appointment, Nazario reportedly lowered the draping to expose his client’s genitals and then touched her vaginal area and breasts without her consent. The DOH Order stated that “Nazario 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, Nazario is prohibited from practicing massage therapy on female clients pending a final disciplinary hearing. Nazario has been licensed as a massage therapist since February 2016.
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.