Bernard Torres, a Jacksonville massage therapist, surrendered his license to practice massage therapy in Florida, which was accepted and adjudged as a discipline on May 14, 2021, by the Board of Massage Therapy. Following a disciplinary action brought by the Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy alleging sexual misconduct at Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa, Torres agreed to cease practicing immediately and not re-apply for a massage therapist license in Florida. Bernard Torres had been a licensed massage therapist in Florida since 2005.
A Final Order of discipline was entered following an allegation of sexual misconduct made against Torres when he was working at Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa in Jacksonville, Florida. According to the Department of Health’s Emergency Order, Torres was performing a massage on a 61-year-old female client on March 21, 2019. While the patient was face-up, Torres moved the draping down to her hips exposing the client’s breasts without her consent. He then is alleged to have brushed his hands over the breasts several times and massaged her between the breasts. The patient reported this activity to the managers of Hand and Stone as well as the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Prior to this alleged incident, Torres had been warned by Hand and Stone when a different female patient alleged that Torres exposed her breasts during a massage after numerous attempts to pull the draping up. An Emergency Order was entered in May 2019, which restricted his massage license to practice on male clients only.
The disciplinary order continues a long and disturbing trend of sexual misconduct by massage therapists statewide, including numerous employees of Hand & Stone franchises. Under Florida law, massage therapists occupy positions of trust, and all sexual activity between the massage therapist and clients is strictly prohibited.
Torres allegedly violated the massage therapist-patient relationship. 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 at Hand & Stone Spa. 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 Hand & Stone or any other spa, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected].