New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced that the State Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy has permanently revoked the license of a Monmouth County massage therapist for allegedly engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with two female clients during massage therapy sessions at Massage Envy spas in 2013.
In a complaint filed with the board in July, the state alleged that Steven A. Segovia committed acts of gross negligence and professional misconduct by engaging in a sex act with a female client during a massage therapy session at Massage Envy in Manalapan, and engaging in sexual intercourse with another female client during a massage therapy session at Massage Envy in Freehold Township.
Board regulations strictly prohibit licensees from engaging in sexual contact with clients, even if the contact is consensual, according to a press release. Segovia agreed to the permanent revocation of his license to resolve the allegations against him.
“New Jersey has strict standards for licensed massage therapists and the vast majority of them are professionals who meet and exceed those standards,” Grewal said. “This case makes it clear that rogue practitioners who bring shame to the industry will be rooted out and permanently banned from practice.”
“Clients who engage the services of licensed massage therapists trust they will be treated with dignity, respect and unfailing professionalism,” said Paul R. Rodriguez, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Steven Segovia, through his alleged actions, undermined that trust by using patients for his own personal satisfaction. By permanently barring him from practice in New Jersey, the board has upheld its duty to safeguard the public from this kind of insidious and predatory behavior.”
Segovia admitted to engaging in a consensual sex act with one client, but denied engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with the other client, according to the press release.
Under the terms of a consent order he entered with the board on July 25, Segovia is permanently barred from practicing massage and bodywork therapy in New Jersey. He must reimburse the state $5,000 for investigation and prosecution costs, according to the press release.
Investigators with the Enforcement Bureau in the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted the investigation.
Patients who believe they have been treated by a licensed health care professional in an inappropriate manner may file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 or 973-504-6200.