Less than two weeks after the in-depth publication of the Arizona Republic sexual abuse investigation In the massage industry, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced that he had fired all five members of the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy and replaced them with new members.
Ducey announced in a statement Friday that, “It is vital that the State Board of Massage Therapy protects massage clients, especially those who are in vulnerable situations. I believe that today’s appointees will do so.” will do.”
massage therapy board is a regulatory body Appointed by the governor and responsible for licensing the state’s 10,600 massage therapists and investigating complaints against them.
Ducey’s announcements mean that longtime board chair Victoria Bowman, a licensed massage therapist for 43 years, will no longer serve. Also departing are a massage therapist, and John Ortega and Nick McClain, who are both members of the public and not involved in the massage industry. Bowman and Ortega were serving on expired terms, as is common with regulatory boards, while Clark and McClain still had time left for their five-year terms.
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The fifth board seat has been vacant since June when board members Kevin Ramsey abruptly resigns When a reporter from the Arizona Republic questioned him about his relationship with the Massage Envy franchise series and why he was voting on Massage Envy Therapist.
The monthly board meeting scheduled for Monday was canceled following the announcement of the DUCE.
Republic expanded to five months earlier this month Investigation How about 100 massage therapists have faced complaints before the state licensing board for allegedly exposing, loving, sexually abusing or sexually assaulting their clients over the past eight years. About half of those 100 had their licenses not revoked. Some were suspended or placed on probation. Others had dismissed their complaints or only received warning letters. At least one doctor has been charged twice and still holds a license.
The women who lodged complaints with the board said that the unwillingness of the doctor to discipline puts clients in danger.
Republic investigation also highlights how loosely regulated the massage industry in Arizona, and how it Physicians Difficult for Clients to Vet.
Critics point out that three out of five licensing board members have historically been licensed massage therapists, an arrangement by law that suggests the scale favors the industry. State Law changed in august 2020 To turn that creation over, that required three public members and two massage therapists. But the governor’s office has been slow to fill vacancies on a turnaround that would give the public more input into licensing decisions.
Ducey said Friday that three of her new appointments to the board have experience advocating for and supporting victims.
“The state is committed to implementing policies and best practices that will help protect Arizonans, those that keep massage clients safe, and will continue to work with industry professionals and members of the spa community,” he said.
The five new appointments include:
- Maria Mahoon, a member of the public, is the CEO of New Life Center, a large domestic violence shelter. She has worked as a social worker and helped staff the Arizona Guidelines to develop a regional response to the youth sex trafficking project through the Arizona Human Trafficking Council.
- Bailey DeRoest, a public member, is co-director of the Sojourner Center, a program for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in Arizona. DeRoest has over 17 years of experience serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, previously as a crisis shelter manager and as chief operating officer.
- Lisa Luchesi, a Public Member, is the National Human Trafficking Specialist at Aetna, where she develops and manages programs.
- Michael Tapscott, a licensed massage therapist, is senior instructor of massage therapy at Gateway Community College. He has over 25 years of experience as a Massage Therapist.
- Angela Reiter, a licensed massage therapist, is the owner of Integrative Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Reiter is a graduate of the Chicago School of Massage Therapy and has been practicing as a licensed and board-certified massage therapist since 1994.
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