The Florida Department of Health has issued an Emergency Order restricting the massage therapy license of Aitor Aizpurua of Massage Envy in downtown Hollywood, Florida. The Emergency Order was issued in response to a female client’s sexual misconduct claim. Aizpurua is accused of committing sexual misconduct at the Hollywood Massage Envy during an appointment on July 14, 2018. He has been licensed as a Massage Therapist in Florida since 2017 according to the Department of Health website.
According to the Order, a female patient presented to Massage Envy with upper body pain. The patient
provided written consent for her upper body to be massaged, but did not consent for her lower body to be massaged. Aitor Aizpurua was assigned to perform a massage on the patient. During the session, Mr. Aizpurua complimented the patient’s physical appearance and her skin. Aitor Aizpurua told the patient that he was going to try some “Thai message”’ techniques on her to assist with her pain. Such techniques were not offered by Massage Envy, nor considered acceptable for its employees to perform. While the patient was lying face down on the message table, Mr. Aizpurua climbed up on the table and positioned his body on top of hers. While performing the “Thai massage” techniques, Mr. Aizpurua allegedly pressed his penis against the patient’s back and it became erect. The patient reportedly felt Mr. Aizpurua’s erection pressing against her back. Mr. Aizpurua continued to perform the “Thai massage” techniques on the patient after his penis became erect, and did not disengage from the massage or leave the room. The patient felt uncomfortable about Mr. Aizpurua’s behavior and allegedly told Mr. Aizpurua that she did not want to be face down anymore. Mr. Aizpurua then got down off the table and began to massage the patient’s inner thigh, without her consent. After massaging the patient inner thigh, Mr. Aizpurua quickly massaged her head and then ended the massage. The patient reported the incident to the manager of Massage Envy. The same day, Massage Envy terminated Mr. Aizpurua’s employment.
Patients 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 and professionally practice massage therapy. Massage therapists must also practice according to the standard of care established for their profession.
All massage therapists in Florida are licensed by the Florida Department of Health. Other states have similar licensing boards. If your massage therapist ever makes any sexual contact with you, it is a violation of professional ethics and may be a crime. It could also provide the basis for a civil lawsuit against the spa or employer of the therapist. In addition to reporting misconduct to law enforcement, if this incident occurs in Florida you can also lodge a complaint with the Department of Health at this website: https://www.flhealthcomplaint.gov
If you have a been a victim of sexual assault in a spa or 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 [email protected]