On July 1, 2022, Altamonte Springs massage therapist Jean Richard Cherisme was criminally charged in Seminole County, Florida, for unlawfully committing battery and intentionally touching or harming another person. The battery charge was due to a formal complaint made on March 31, 2022, to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office by a 41-year-old woman alleging she was sexually assaulted during an 80-minute massage by Cherisme at Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa location in Longwood, Fl. Cherisme is set for an arraignment on July 27, 2022.
Two weeks later, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) issued an Emergency Order restricting Cherisme’s license and prohibiting his practice of massage therapy on female clients in the State of Florida. Cherisme has been a licensed massage therapist in Florida since July 2021.
According to the Emergency Order, Jean Richard Cherisme was assigned to perform a massage on a woman at Hand and Stone Massage. The client was lying face down when Cherisme began the massage. He rubbed his hands up the client’s legs to her thighs. Cherisme then slid his hand under the client’s underwear and ran his fingers along her labia. Cherisme continued to rub the client’s thighs and labia for about 5 minutes. He then asked the woman to flip over on her back. He then proceeded to rub her thighs again and slid his hands under her underwear, and caressed her vaginal area. The client was in shock and frightened of what Cherisme would do if she said something. She immediately reported the incident to Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
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. Mr. Jean Richard Cherisme willfully abused his position as a massage therapist to sexually violate a woman who trusted him to act professionally and within the boundaries of generally accepted massage therapy and treatment. Cherisme’s violation of the massage therapist-patient relationship indicates that he lacks the good moral character and judgment necessary 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 Hand and Stone and various massage salons and spas. 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.