Miami Beach massage therapist, Christopher Mankarious, surrendered his license to practice massage therapy in Florida, which was accepted and adjudged as a discipline on November 29, 2021, by the Board of Massage Therapy. Following a disciplinary action brought by the Florida Department of Health alleging sexual misconduct at Lapis Spa, inside the Fontainebleau Hotel at 4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, Mankarious agreed to cease practicing massage therapy immediately and not re-apply for a massage therapist license in Florida. Mankarious has been a licensed massage therapist in Florida since 2019 and also worked as an on-demand therapist with a mobile app, Soothe.
A Final Order of discipline was entered following an allegation of sexual misconduct made against Mankarious when working at Lapis Spa. According to the media reports, the alleged victim was a guest at the hotel with her family in March 2021. She booked a 60-minute massage with Mankarious and changed into the robe provided. She stated that she doesn’t get massages often and didn’t know if it was customary to fully undress. Mankarious reportedly told the alleged victim to lie face down on the bed and that he would return shortly to start the massage.
The arrest report states that during the massage Mankarious moved his client’s body in a way that exposed her vagina, and then he penetrated her with his finger. The report states Mankarious realized his client was upset and began to apologize repeatedly, tried to diffuse the situation, and resume the massage by placing his hands on the client’s shoulders. The alleged victim then said she wanted to stop the massage, and Mankarious left the room. She reported the incident to the spa and hotel staff, as well as the Miami Beach Police Department. Police said Mankarious was questioned about the incident by a manager and said, “My mind wasn’t clear. I misunderstood. I wasn’t in a clear state of mind.” Detectives arrested Christopher Mankarious and charged him with sexual battery. After initially invoking his right to remain silent, Mankarious reportedly volunteered that he grazed the victim’s vagina with his hand as he was massaging near her buttocks/thigh area.
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.
Christopher Mankarious violated the massage therapist-patient relationship according to the Board of Massage Therapy. 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 during a massage or spa service. 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 Lapis Spa or any other spa, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or e-mail sexual abuse lawyer, Adam Horowitz today.