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News Story on Plea Deal In Massage Therapist Sex Case

Massage therapist avoids jail, registry with plea deal       
 
A [location removed] massage therapist pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual touching in connection with three separate incidents involving female clients.
 
[Name removed], of Topsham, was arrested Sept. 18, 2012, and charged with gross sexual assault stemming from a complaint — lodged with [Police Department Removed] police Sept. 8 — that he inappropriately touched a woman at a fitness center where he worked as a fitness trainer and licensed massage therapist.
 
Upon his arrest, [name removed] was charged with gross sexual assault. He posted $1,000 unsecured bail and was released.
 
He then was indicted on one count of felony unlawful sexual contact and two misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual touching. The felony count was dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea to the two misdemeanors. The charges were linked to three incidents, on Feb. 4, July 2 and Sept. 1, 2012.
 
[Name removed] — who is no longer working as a massage therapist — was sentenced to two years in prison, all suspended; and two years of probation.
 
“The disposition allows him no felony record, no sex offender registry, and no jail time,” said Tim Zerillo, a criminal defense attorney. “He was ready, willing and able to try these cases. But jury trials are uncertain. He’s a businessman and this was a way to mitigate his risk.
 
“Ultimately, he feels he did the best thing for him and his family,” Zerillo said. “Overall he’s pleased with the result.”
 
Each of [name removed]’s victims spoke at sentencing and described what they felt was the impact on them, Zerillo said.
 
“Despite some of the victims — at least one of the victims at least initially seemed to indicate it was too lenient a deal — ultimately she decided it was going to be all right, even though she expressed that she was upset by it,” Zerillo said.
 
Police received a complaint Sept. 8 about an incident that had occurred a week prior at a Topsham fitness center where he worked.
 
One of the victims was a 47-year-old Freeport woman who reported an incident of inappropriate touching that occurred as [name removed] was performing a massage on her, police said.
 
According to the Maine Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation records for massage therapy licensure, [name removed] had no disciplinary actions on record at the time of his arrest.
 
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