In late August, state authorities revoked the license of a massage therapist who had been criminally convicted for inappropriately touching a client during a massage. This individual represents one of several therapists whose licenses have been similarly revoked in just the past 12 months in New Jersey.
Massage Therapist Loses License for Harassment & Offensive Touching Conviction
John Popper was convicted earlier in 2020 on charges of harassment and offensive touching, after prosecutors alleged that he placed his hand on a client’s genital area during a massage. Subsequently, the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy permanently revoked Popper’s massage therapist license for having “engaged in professional misconduct and a crime of moral turpitude.” The board concluded that Popper’s conduct was so egregious that no penalty “short of permanent revocation would be sufficient to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.”
Several Other Massage Therapists Have Lost Licenses This Year
Two other massage therapists had their licenses revoked after they were charged with sexual offenses when female clients alleged they failed to drape them properly, attempted to engage in sexual conversation, and then inappropriately touched them. In response to the string of license revocations over the past 12 months due to sexual misconduct, the Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy adopted new rules aimed at deterring sexual abuse and misconduct. These rules include requiring massage therapists to notify the board of any pending criminal, civil, administrative, or employment actions, and also imposing the affirmative duty on massage therapists to report misconduct by fellow therapists.
What to Do If You Are Arrested for Offenses Against a Massage Client?
If you are a massage therapist who has been accused of sexual or other misconduct towards a client or if you have been arrested on allegations of such misconduct, you need to act quickly to protect your rights and your career. Even an arrest can lead to the suspension or revocation of your license. The Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy’s new rules require you to report your arrest for any crime or if you have a civil or employment action brought against you for misconduct toward a client during a massage.
If you have been arrested for a criminal offense arising from allegations of misconduct toward a client during a massage, you may have legal defenses and strategies available to you, including contesting the evidence against you supporting your arrest and prosecution (was there simply accidental touching of a private area? Did the client misinterpret your action or statement?). You may also be able to negotiate a plea bargain that leads to the reduction or dismissal of charges.
Of course, a conviction for a criminal offense that might occur against a client during a massage session will likely lead to the suspension or revocation of your massage therapist license. In time, you may be eligible to seek expungement of your record for that arrest and conviction, depending on the type of offense. Certain criminal offenses are ineligible for expungement, including aggravated criminal sexual conduct, aggravated sexual assault, forcible sodomy, or rape.
Let a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney help you understand your legal rights and options if you are facing accusations of misconduct towards a massage client.
Contact an Experienced Woodbridge Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Sexual Contact Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with sexual contact or offensive touching in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio have successfully represented clients charged with criminal sexual contact in East Brunswick, Princeton, Jackson, Perth Amboy, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 334-7468 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 227 Main Street, Woodbridge, NJ 07095, as well as offices located in Princeton, Freehold, Jersey City, and Mount Laurel.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.