On March 28, 2022, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) ordered the Emergency Restriction of the license of massage therapist, Salim Baghdadi, prohibiting his practice of massage therapy on male clients in the State of Florida. The Emergency Order was entered in response to a sexual misconduct complaint by a male client that allegedly occurred at Away Spa in Miami Beach. Salim Baghdadi has been a licensed massage therapist since July 2020.
According to the Order, on November 15, 2021, Baghdadi performed a massage on a 39-year-old male client at Away Spa, located inside the W Hotel in South Beach. During the massage, Baghdadi reportedly placed his hands underneath the draping and made skin-to-skin contact while massaging the client’s inner thigh. The client claims Baghdadi repeatedly grazed the client’s testicles with the side of his hand and/or his wrist. He then asked the client to flip over to lay face-up. While at the head of the table, Baghdadi repeatedly stretched his arms from the client’s shoulders until his hands allegedly reached his genital area.
Baghdadi allegedly rubbed his hands against the client’s testicles and grabbed his penis. He repeated this while standing at the foot of the table. The client pushed Baghdadi’s hand away approximately four times to which his response was that was his “trouble area” and resumed the inappropriate contact according to the Order. Towards the end of the massage, the client says he noticed that Baghdadi reached his hand under the draping again to touch his penis and began masturbating. The client began to squirm away causing friction burns that needed medical attention. The client reported the incident to staff members at the spa and hotel, as well as law enforcement.
Baghdadi’s alleged violation of the massage therapist-patient relationship indicates that he may lack the good moral character and judgment necessary to practice massage therapy. According to the Department of Health, Baghdadi willfully abused his position as a massage therapist by inappropriately touching and sexually violating men who trusted him to act professionally and within the boundaries of generally accepted massage therapy and treatment.
The Order ensures he can not pose a danger to the public’s health, welfare, and safety, pending a final hearing by the Department. When clients book 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.
Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were sexually assaulted at massage businesses, 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 at [email protected] for a free consultation.