A massage therapist was released from jail on $11,000 bond Wednesday after police said he sexually battered a client at the end of a massage session in Coral Springs.
Michael Ster, 32, is charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of misdemeanor battery in the incident that happened the afternoon of June 3 at the Massage Envy at 2878 University Drive, Coral Springs Police said.
"At the end of the massage, the therapist that was conducting the massage began to touch her inappropriately," Sgt. Carla Kmiotek said of Ster and the victim.
It was unknown whether Ster has an attorney.
In a statement released Wednesday, Massage Envy said Ster has been suspended pending the investigation and the clinic is fully cooperating with the investigation. The company added that their more than 1,000 clinics are independently owned and operated by a franchisee, who employs therapists who have graduated from an accredited massage school and who meet all state and local licensing requirements.
"The clinics conduct criminal background checks on all potential massage therapists, including this therapist, at the time of hiring. Massage therapists also receive training and orientation from the Massage Envy clinic, which specifically includes coverage of the policy expressly prohibiting inappropriate conduct," the company said. "Massage Envy averages over 1,300,000 massages and facials on a monthly basis and is committed to providing high-quality service to our customers in a safe and comfortable environment. We take all customer complaints very seriously and have a zero tolerance policy on inappropriate behavior."
According to police, the victim said Ster began touching her breasts at the end of the massage session, then mounted the massage table and continued to sexually assault her.
The victim said she was in shock and tried to push Ster away and he paused for a moment but continued to assault her, police said. When the victim pushed Ster away a second time he stopped, police said.
The victim reported the incident and detectives found corroborative evidence and arrested Ster Tuesday, police said.
Many women along The Walk shopping plaza were on edge after learning about what allegedly transpired at the massage parlor there.
"You don't go in to be sexually harassed," concerned resident Uhmresse Thompson said.
Said Claudette Cerro: "That's terrible. I don't think I will go there."
Anyone with information regarding this case or any similar incidents is asked to call Coral Springs Police at 954-346-1300.
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