The owner of Mod Spa in Edgartown was arrested last week and charged with indecent assault and battery based on two allegations of sexual assault.
32-year-old Sebastian M. Pattavina was arraigned on September 27 in Edgartown district court on four counts of indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 or over.
According to court documents, Edgartown police officers responded to a complaint of alleged sexual assault from a female employee at Mod Spa. The employee told police that her boss, Sebastian Pattavina, allegedly offered to give her a massage in August 2017 and then touched her inappropriately without her consent.
The employee also told police that Mr. Pattavina had allegedly sexually assaulted a client on September 12 of this year and that she had witnessed the incident during a couples massage at Mod Spa. According to the police, Pattavina allegedly sexually assaulted a female customer by touching her inappropriately while her husband was getting a massage in a separate room.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for November 19.
Kim Dougherty is an attorney who specializes in helping the survivors of sexual assault secure justice and support for the trauma they've suffered. We've asked her to contribute some thoughts on the legal options available to those who have been sexually assaulted by massage therapists:
In recent years, the growing popularity of massage therapy has also coincided with an increase in stories of massage therapists sexually assaulting their patients. All across the country, the survivors of massage therapist sexual assault are fighting back by filing lawsuits against the massage businesses that have failed to keep their customers safe from sexual predators.
Our team of lawyers have helped survivors in New Jersey, California, Florida, and other states take on giant companies like Massage Envy, holding these companies accountable for their mishandling of reports of sexual abuse and misconduct. In many cases, these companies attempt to cover up sexual assaults, sometimes allowing massage therapists to continue seeing customers even after allegations have been made against them.
If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted by a massage therapist and you'd like to learn more about your legal options, we advise speaking with one of our experienced sexual assault survivor lawyers.