On February 16, 2021, the Florida Department of Health issued an Emergency Order restricting the massage therapy license of Joseph Succar, a massage therapist from Miami, on account of alleged sexual misconduct at Vitality Massage Studio located at 8870 SW 129th Terrace, Miami, FL 33176. The Order prohibits Joseph Succar from practicing massage therapy on female clients in the State of Florida. The Emergency Order was entered in response to a sexual misconduct complaint by a female client.
Joseph Succar has been a licensed massage therapist in Florida since May 2018. Succar was employed at a Vitality Massage Studio but was terminated in late 2020 due to speaking unprofessionally to Vitality clients. Nevertheless, on November 11, 2020, an employee at another massage establishment reportedly referred a female client to Mr. Succar as she was desperately trying to find a therapist that day. Succar reached out to the owners of Vitality Massage to see if he could use their facility to perform the massage despite his prior termination. Vitality agreed to the arrangement, and the client came to the studio for an 8:30 p.m. appointment.
Before the massage, Succar provided client with a bath towel to drape herself. The towel was a hand towel and only covered her buttocks. During the massage, Succar allegedly spoke to the client about sexual encounters with women which the client thought was odd. He them proceeded to perform massage and midway though, she was asked to roll over on her back. The small towel only covered her genital area, leaving her breasts exposed. Succar allegedly grazed her nipples multiple times during the massage. According to the Order, Succar then asked client to lay in a yoga-style stretch position which exposed the client’s vagina. Succar even mentioned that he wouldn’t look at her vagina but she noticed him staring at her vagina which made her uncomfortable enough to end the stretch. After the massage, Succar informed client that he only accepted cash for the services and followed her to an ATM machine nearby. She was afraid that he would be violent if she said no. After paying Succar, the client began to leave but Succar insisted on following her home. She told Succar no, but he followed her several blocks before she screamed “No.” The next day, the client called Vitality Massage to report Succar’s behavior. The owners told her that he was terminated a few weeks prior and that they thought he was using studio to perform a massage on a friend.
When clients schedule a massage, it is to relax and escape the stresses of life. They trust that the massage therapists employed at the spa are carefully vetted and safe to engage with the public. It is unacceptable, immoral and unlawful for any employee to touch a client in a sexual manner. 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 those circumstances, massage therapists must possess good judgment and good moral character in order to safely practice massage therapy.
Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual assault lawsuits against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched at various franchises, spas and resorts. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery during a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz for massage clients at [email protected] for a free consultation.