28-year-old massage therapist Jonathan Higgins was arrested on Friday, June 28 for allegedly sexually assaulting a customer at the Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa in Brick Township, where he worked.
According to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Bilhimer, Higgins was giving the woman a massage at the business on June 25 when he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
Higgins is being held at Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
The police have encouraged anyone else who feels they may have been a victim to come forward.
Attorney contributor and former sex crimes prosecutor Brian Kent, has represented many victims of massage therapist sexual assaults in civil lawsuits. Here are a few thoughts from Brian concerning the legal options available to the victims of these crimes:
Large massage therapy companies like Massage Envy and Hand & Stone have made massage therapy easy to access in all 50 states. However, these large chains and other small massage therapy businesses have also had issues with employees sexually assaulting customers. When this happens, it’s important for the victims to be aware of their legal rights.
The intimate nature of massage therapy means that there is a high potential for abuse in this field if the wrong people are hired. The owners and managers of massage therapy businesses must make sure that all new employees are trustworthy by running background checks and must investigate any reports of sexual misconduct or abuse in a timely manner, along with notifying law enforcement of the allegations.
In some cases, sexual assaults committed by massage therapists could have been prevented if not for negligence by the business – such as hiring an employee without first running a background check. When negligence is involved, the victims of sexual assault could have grounds for a massage therapist sexual assault lawsuit against the business.
You can learn more about your legal rights as a survivor of massage therapist sexual assault by speaking with an experienced sexual assault survivors lawyer.