Massage therapist Juan Mendiz has been arrested after being accused of sexually assaulting a female client at the Massage Envy franchise located in Cordova Road in Fort Lauderdale’s Harbor Shops Complex. According to law enforcement records, Mendiz is accused of penetrating his client’s vagina with his fingers against her will toward the end of a massage appointment on March 9, 2018. The alleged victim, who was in Florida on spring break, reported her assault to Massage Envy on the date of the incident. She was reportedly urged by franchise employees not to call the police because it was being handled internally. Most recently, the Florida Department of Health issued an Emergency Order on May 18, 2018 restricting Juan Mendiz from practicing massage therapy on female patients.
The allegation that Massage Envy urged a client not to contact law enforcement to report a sex crime is particularly troubling because Massage Envy adopted a new a sexual assault policy in December 2017 in response to a Buzzfeed investigation that revealed over 180 public allegations of sexual misconduct at Massage Envy franchises nationwide. According to the new policy, if a Massage Envy client reports an incident of sexual assault, spas must offer contact information for local law enforcement, as well as a private room in which to call if the person chooses to do so.
The alleged victim did call the police, who met with Mendiz. He claimed that he only touched the victim’s groin area with the blanket while trying to cover her after she moved. He further claimed that the victim o moved her leg while he was massaging it, causing part of her private area to be exposed. He said he had to cover it and that’s when the victim told him something along the lines of, “I don’t need that,” authorities said. The detective said Mendiz changed his story after he was told that the victim completed a rape kit and then claimed that he massaged her hip flexors near her pelvis. He said he didn’t know whether massaging hip flexors was part of Massage Envy protocol, authorities said.
This is the second time an incident like this has happened at this same location. In July 2010, another employee of the Fort Lauderdale franchise was accused of a similar crime.
Juan Pablo Mendiz, age 32, has been licensed as a massage therapist since January 2016 according to the Florida Department of Health records. Mendiz is no longer employed at Massage Envy.
Attorney Adam Horowitz has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched at Massage Envy. 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 at Massage Envy 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 [email protected]