Massage therapists are just like any other professional with the ability to commit crimes and engage in sexual misconduct that can lead to possible criminal charges against the individual. Depending on the extent, the evidence that exists and how the person committed the sexual misconduct, charges are either extensive or minor with only heavy fines for a conviction.
What Is Sexual Misconduct with Message Therapy?
Clients that seek or need massage therapy are normally naked or only wearing a thin covering to keep private areas of the body concealed. Many that receive this service can feel uncomfortable and uneasy because of this exposure of the body and another person’s hands on the naked skin. Certain behaviors and actions taken by the massage therapist are sexual misconduct as classified by the state where these crimes occur. This can happen through a sensual or sexual type of touching. Others experience sexual misconduct when the massage therapist is or remains too close to private areas of the body for longer than necessary.
The Effects of Sexual Misconduct
The client that needs a massage to help alleviate stress, pain and other discomfort with the body because of muscle or joint problems may have a negative experience with the massage therapist. If the professional does exhibit signs of sexual misconduct, the client may leave with more stress, feeling dirty or with a sense that the massage therapist took advantage of him or her. This can also cause harmful emotional trauma or psychological pain for others. These effects are often short-term, but if combined with past trauma, there are lasting effects that can lead to further pain and suffering.
Types of Sexual Misconduct with Massage Therapy Sessions
Sexual impropriety, transgressions, violations and overt sexual advances are all possible with a massage therapist. The impropriety happens through inappropriate words, crude behavior and even demeaning comments to the client. The transgression occurs through inappropriate touch and physical contact that may not have any overt sexual advances or actions attached. The violation is an overt physical sexual activity such as sexual abuse or when inappropriate touching progresses further. Any or all three of these may occur with or without any overt sexual advances that could lead even further or that may fall flat which could lead to a lawsuit against the professional or the facility.
Penalties for Sexual Misconduct in Massage Therapy
Penalties are only possible when the prosecuting lawyer is able to successfully prove a criminal activity occurred such as any of the three sexual misconduct actions against the client who becomes a victim. This requires evidence and witness testimony such as the statement or testimony given in court with the affected person. The standard penalties involve severe fines and possible jail time with the massage therapist. However, additional fines could extend to the facility or later lead to a civil suit against the organization and the professional depending on the victim.
Defenses for Sexual Misconduct by a Message Therapist
When a professional working for a facility or independently faces charges for criminal sexual misconduct, he or she will need to contact a lawyer to build a defense. Not only could the charges place him or her behind bars, but this action could also lead to a revocation of the professional license acquired for the state. Certification into the program provides this professional with the ability to practice massage therapy with any person seeking the service and that either signs a waiver or signs documentation for this service. Hiring a lawyer and explaining that no sexual misconduct occurred is important to building the appropriate and aggressive defense to combat such charges.
Evidence of the actual sessions can support the defense against sexual misconduct with the massage therapist. The professional or the facility may take the sessions to either help the clients better in the future with certain difficult spots or to protect the integrity of these relationships by rooting out anyone that acts inappropriately. If the client is accusing the massage therapist with unfounded allegations, these taped sessions can counter any claims effectively. However, the massage therapist usually still needs a criminal defense lawyer to appropriately argue the case and present the evidence.
The Criminal Defense for the Message Therapist
The professional will need to prove that no sexual misconduct in word or deed occurred during the sessions. This is more difficult if there is little evidence to support the defense. However, without any corroborating evidence, the prosecution may also lack the necessary proof for a conviction if the matter solely rests on the words of the client.