SALT LAKE CITY — A massage therapist accused of inappropriately touching a client while treating her for a neck problem now faces criminal charges.
The incident marks the third case of alleged sexual abuse by a massage therapist filed by Salt Lake County prosecutors this year.
Francisco Fernandez, 39, of Salt Lake City, was charged Monday in 3rd District Court with two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. The alleged incidents involve a woman who saw Fernandez in 2015 and in September of 2016.
In 2015, the woman said Fernandez inappropriately touched her during a massage, then left the room for a minute, returned and told her, "This one's on the house," according to charging documents.
In 2016, the woman returned to be treated for a neck injury. Fernandez had the woman completely undress and touched her genitals during the massage, the charges state.
When later questioned by police, Fernandez claimed he was working on the woman's "soraz." But a detective seeking expert opinion from the Utah College of Massage Therapy was told the soraz area is only accessible from the naval area and it was "unlikely that someone would work that area if they came in complaining of neck pain," the charges state.
It would be like "going in to get your wheels aligned and ending up getting the radio replaced," the company told police, according charging documents.
The case marks the third incident of charges being filed in Salt Lake County this year accusing a massage therapist of inappropriately touching a client.
In May, Nevin Timothy Sheehan, 22, of Salt Lake City, was charged with object rape, a first-degree felony.
In March, Kevin Rand, 47, of Millcreek, was charged with forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, and sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor.
Court documents do not list the business where Fernandez works.