Exclusive: Spa Sexual Battery Suspect: “I’m Innocent.”
South Florida Crime
Miami (CBSMiami) — A third woman has come forward accusing a massage therapist of touching her inappropriately at a Coconut Grove spa while the accused man said he is innocent.
This is the third time Victor Antonio Sanchez, 53, has been accused of sexually assaulting clients at Tiano Salon and Spa at 2840 Oak Avenue.
Last week, a Miami judge ordered the salon to give prosecutors the name of one of the women who claimed she was groped by Sanchez.
In February, Sanchez was arrested and charged with sexual battery after the woman claimed she was sexually assaulted during the massage session.
“The victim states that while the defendant was massaging her she felt him performing oral sex on her,” according to court documents.
During questioning, Sanchez reportedly admitted to touching the woman’s genitalia.
But in an interview with CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana Tuesday, Sanchez said, “The only thing I want to say is that I’m innocent.”
Sanchez said he worked at the salon for about a year and has been a massage therapist for three years.
He’s currently out on bond awaiting trial.
One of the alleged victims sued the spa and in the course of her attorney’s investigation they found that a second woman had complained to the spa that Sanchez had groped her during a session.
In her email to the salon, the woman wrote that contrary to what she told him, Sanchez seemed to concentrate on the areas near her private parts and breasts. At the end of the massage he even kissed her, according to court documents. The woman said when she looked up the masseuse on Yelp, another women had complained about him.
“I am astounded when I read that reviewer had the same experience,” according to the email. “I am sure it happened to me and these women, that it has happened to way more by they are too ashamed or embarrassed to report it.”
The woman went on to say, “I wish this man to be fired because it is the logical and moral thing to do. So, in conclusion, I want a refund and for this man to suffer the consequences (be terminated). I am seriously considering filing a police report if this man is not dealt with properly.”
The salon did not fire Sanchez and had refused to give prosecutors the name of the woman who wrote the email. They claimed the woman had a right to privacy.
“The alleged victim in the email has a privacy interest in not having her name divulged and her identity,” the spa’s attorney, Jeffrey Bell, told CBS4’s Gary Nelson.
Prosecutors countered that, under Florida law, her name would not be made public through the media, and that withholding it from the state essentially amounted to obstruction of a criminal case.
Assistant State Attorney Christine Zahralban argued in court last week that Tiano was “covering up a sexual battery, and hiding a potential witness.”
“It doesn’t get any clearer than that,” the prosecutor said.
The judge decided the woman’s name would be revealed to prosecutors, but before that happened, she voluntarily contacted them to tell her story.
The third victim claims she was touched inappropriately during her massage in December.
When her treatment concluded, court records show the woman said “he kissed the victim on the hand.”
On Monday, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office filed a Notice of Intention to Introduce Additional Crimes, Wrongs or Acts (Williams Rule Notice).
By law, even if Sanchez is not charged for the alleged crimes against the two other women, they can still testify against him because of the similar nature of their allegations to the original complaint.
For his part, Sanchez said he had only just found out about the new allegations a short time before talking to CBS 4.
His attorney, a public defender, declined to comment.
Sanchez has a hearing scheduled for Thursday and his trial is set to start August 11th. He believes he will be found not guilty.
“They say God protects the innocent,” Sanchez said. “And I’m innocent. That’s all I have to say.”
The attorney for the spa could not be reached for comment regarding the new allegations Tuesday.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.