Massage therapist barred from practicing due to alleged sexual misconduct

By: - August 4, 2021 10:18 am

An eastern Iowa massage therapist has been barred from practicing for three years due to allegations of improper sexual contact with a patient.(Photo from the Arizona Board of Massage Therapy)

An eastern Iowa massage therapist has been barred from practicing for three years due to allegations of improper sexual contact with a patient.

In May 2019, the Iowa Board of Massage Therapists launched an investigation into a complaint made by a female patient of Darin Oberhart of Quiet River Massage Therapy in Bettendorf. The patient alleged that during a massage session on Nov. 21, 2018, Oberhart grabbed her breasts five to seven times. She alleged that she raised an arm in order to move Oberhart’s arm away, at which point Oberhart reportedly whispered in her ear, “OK, I’ll stop.”

She left the massage clinic, called her husband and a minister to report what had happened, then contacted the police and filed a formal complaint.

According to the board, Oberhart told police he had only inadvertently touched the side the patient’s breasts. The Bettendorf Police Department referred the case to the local county attorney for consideration of criminal charges, and the county attorney declined to prosecute.

The board ruled last week that it found the woman’s account of what transpired to be more credible than that of Oberhart’s, and it concluded that Oberhart had engaged in improper sexual contact with a patient.

The board suspended Oberhart’s license for a minimum of three years, after which he can apply for reinstatement of his license, assuming he has undergone a psychosexual evaluation. The board also imposed a $1,000 civil penalty.

As part of its own investigation of the matter, the board looked into separate allegations that Oberhart’s wife, Renee, was practicing at Quiet River without a license. At first, Oberhart allegedly denied his wife was practicing massage therapy, but later acknowledged she had provided massage services to customers. The board imposed a $1,000 civil penalty against Renee Oberhart earlier this year.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.