On April 28, 2021, Christopher Mankarious, a Miami Beach massage therapist, was arrested on sexual battery charges arising from an alleged incident at Lapis Spa inside the Fontainebleau Hotel at 4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140. Christopher Mankarious, licensed as a massage therapist in Florida since 2019, also works as an on-demand therapist with a mobile app called Soothe.
According to media reports, the alleged victim was a guest at the hotel with her family in late March 2021. She booked a 60-minute massage with Christopher Mankarious at Lapis Spa. The guest changed out of her clothes and 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 manner 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 volunteered to police that he grazed the victim’s vagina with his hand as he was massaging near her buttocks/thigh area.
Christopher Mankarious reports having trained at The American Institute of Massage Therapy. He previously worked at Massage Envy and Pure Body Spa, Before working in Florida, he was licensed in California.
When clients schedule a massage, it is to decompress from 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 massage studios, spas, hotels, 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.