Man Prosecuted for Massage Parlor Sexual Abuse

A massage therapist at Elements Massage has been charged with forcible sexual abuse. According to KSL News, Landon Jarvies, 28 years old of Herriman, Utah, was charged in 3rd District Court with a violation of Utah Code Ann. 76-5-404 for his role in touching a massage patron inappropriately.

According to the report, the patron told Jarvies she “needed attention on her neck, shoulders and groin, which were all sore.” During the massage, the masseuse proceeded touched her genitals. The patron immediately pulled away and assumedly terminated the massage. Jarvies told her that he must have “misread the signs,” implying that he felt she wanted something more than a normal massage. The man is now being charged with a second degree felony.

In looking at the comments of this story, some take issue with the woman for getting the police involved after she asked to have her groin area massaged. Maybe she should have been more clear about what she wanted. Still, the masseuse had the obligation to clarify what she was after and should not have exceeded the boundaries of what constitutes a therapeutic massage experience. What he offered instead sounds more along the lines of massages recently being offered in American Fork and Orem using trafficked victims, where money was exchanged for sex services. For a shop like Elements Massage that holds itself out as having high safety standards, I would say that the studio really dropped the ball. While they purport to have safeguards in place to protect against Covid-19, being committed to safety also requires them to make sure patrons who visit them are safe from sexual predators, who may find women (and also men) wearing just a towel temptingly easy prey for them.

Legally speaking, those that have been sexually abused at a Utah massage parlor have a claim not only against the individual masseuse, but also against the parlor where they got their massage. The parlor has an obligation to screen, train and supervise its employees to make sure they do not deviate from accepted massage techniques. Particularly for this type of service experience, parlors need to screen their staff to make sure they have no history of sexual abuse and warn of the consequences to them in their job and career should they deviate from this. Failure to do this, exposes them to liability should the masseuse’s conduct amount to sexual abuse.

Ron Kramer is a lawyer committed to helping those that have been sexually abused. He can be reached at ron@ronkramerlaw.com