Because of second-degree rape charges filed against him earlier this month, the state Department of Health has suspended the license of 30-year-old Seattle massage practitioner Eric E. Lara.
According to Seattle police and the King County Prosecutor's Office, Lara has admitted to inappropriately touching a client during a massage in early December at his former place of employment. Lara stands accused of removing the cloth draping that was covering his client and inserting his finger into the most private of areas.
A press release distributed yesterday afternoon notes that Lara cannot practice in Washington until the charges against him are resolved, and he has 20 days to respond to the charges and to ask for a hearing.
In charging documents filed in King County Superior Court Jan. 13, police laid out the case against Lara. Authorities say they received a call about an alleged sexual assault by Lara on Dec. 2 at a spa at the Northgate Mall. The 34-year-old victim told police she'd had two massage appointments with Lara prior to the alleged assault without any problems. But during her third session with Lara, after asking the masseuse to focus on her buttocks, she told police that Lara unexpectedly removed the sheets covering the backside of her body and violated her vagina with his finger.
Shocked, the victim told Lara "that is too much touching." According to court documents, Lara allegedly attempted to resume the massage as if nothing had happened, but the victim soon told Lara to stop and that the massage was over. She exited the business and called the spa's manager from the parking lot. The manager met the victim in the parking lot, who she described to police as "visibly shaken" and appearing to be in shock.
According to charging documents, the victim told the manager that Lara's unexpected advance was "not a service she wanted and expected," and the manager agreed that it "was not a service that they provided." At that point, the manager asked the victim to fill out a report detailing what had transpired.
Upon returning to the spa, the manager cancelled all of Lara's remaining appointments, informed him that a serious allegation had been levied against him, and then required Lara fill out an incident report form.
Lara was terminated from employment that day.
Nine days after the alleged sexual assault, police contacted Lara, who described the victim as "a peculiar client." Lara told police that he'd never had a client schedule consecutive appointments with him after two sessions, and this made him believe his victim was interested in him romantically. To support these contentions, Lara reported to police that the victim would loudly moan and groan during massages, though he also admitted that the victim never flirted with him or "said anything to him that would substantiate" the assumption that she was interested in him romantically.
According to charging documents, Lara told police that he believed that "due to [the victim's] reaction to him, that she wanted more than a massage."