BRADENTON -- A massage therapist charged with inappropriately touching a client did not enter into a plea agreement Friday after a judge said he would only approve a deal involving some jail time.
On March 16, a Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputy was inappropriately touched by Kevin J. Holmes, 61, a licensed massage therapist, during a massage at Muscle Eze, 2606 Manatee Ave. W. Holmes was not deterred, even though he knew his client was a law enforcement officer, according to police.
Holmes later told Bradenton police detectives many clients feel that a massage is incomplete until he massaged their breasts, and that he had the victim feel good since her muscles were sore.
In a hearing Friday afternoon, Manatee County Judge Doug Henderson said he may have misunderstood the seriousness of the allegations when attorneys previously conferred with him about a possible plea agreement.
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"I thought it was just some very quick momentary touch
ing," Henderson said. "But the police report alleges more than this."
Henderson said he was going to have to require at least 10 days of jail time in order to accept a plea agreement.
The State's Attorney's Office had been seeking 60 days of county jail time, Henderson added.
"We do feel that a person in a position of trust took advantage of someone in a vulnerable state," Assistant State Attorney Charles Near said. "We feel that six months of jail is an appropriate amount of time for this case."
The victim in the case was present in the courtroom Friday.
"She contacted my office and stated she wished to remain as anonymous as possible," Near said.
No other possible victims have come forward, he added.
Investigators had suspected there were additional victims based on statements made by Holmes at the time of his arrest.
Defense attorney Steven Lavely said he was not prepared to accepted a plea agreement with required jail time, having not had time to discuss it with his client prior to the hearing.
Lavely requested that a new pre-trial hearing be scheduled and waived the right to a speedy trial on Holmes' behalf.
The deputy reported the incident two days after the fact, and Holmes was arrested on March 20. He was later released from the Manatee County jail on a $500 bond.
Police notified the health department, which regulates the licenses of massage therapists.
Holmes' license was placed on an active emergency restriction when an order was filed on April 14, following a law enforcement alert, according to the Florida Department of Health website. He may practice in Florida but has restrictions specified by emergency order.
On Friday, Lavely said in court that the Department of Health restrictions permit him only to massage men.
"In essence, it's caused him to lose his livelihood," Lavely said.
On April 28, an administrative complaint was filed against Holmes by the Department of Health. According to the complaint, Holmes is subject to discipline because he had violated state statutes that prohibit sexual misconduct in the practice of massage therapy, any sexual activity in a massage establishment and by using the massage therapist-client relationship to induce or engage the victim in sexual activity by touching a massage client's breasts.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.