Massage therapist loses license over sexual-contact allegations

By: - January 16, 2023 9:00 am

The state of Iowa has suspended the license of a central Iowa massage therapist for allegedly making improper sexual contact with a client. (Photo by David Fuentes Prieto/Getty Images)

The state of Iowa has suspended the license of a central Iowa massage therapist for allegedly making improper sexual contact with a client.

The Iowa Board of Massage Therapy charged therapist Hugh Parker of Nevada in June 2022 with the offense of either making improper sexual contact with a client or co-worker or making improper remarks to a client or co-worker.

At the time, the specific nature of Parker’s alleged conduct was redacted from all of the publicly available board records. That is due to a 2021 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that prevents licensing boards from telling the public the exact nature of a licensee’s conduct until the case is resolved.

A hearing in Parker’s case was held last month.

Board records indicate there was testimony  at the hearing that in April 2021, Parker, while working at Massage Heights in Ames, saw a female client who is identified by the board by the initials G.C.

According to the board, G.C. later told the police and a board investigator that during her massage, Parker touched his fingers to her vagina, at which point she protested and the massage continued.

A woman who worked the front desk at Massage Heights that day reportedly told police she remembered G.C. because the woman was initially excited for her appointment that day, but afterward appeared upset looked like she was going to “tear up.”

In his subsequent discussions with police, Parker allegedly denied inappropriately touching G.C. and said he believed G.C. was not “all there” during the appointment and was possibly under the influence.

According to the board, Parker told police that “there’s always a chance there is an accidental touch, not intended,” and added that he couldn’t say that “I haven’t had some accidents.”

Ames police did not charge Parker but referred the matter to the board.

In deciding to suspend Parker’s license for a minimum of three years, the board stated that a preponderance of the evidence supported G.C.’s version of events. In addition, the board said it “is not aware of any circumstances” where a massage therapist could accidentally touch a client’s vagina.

The board ruled that Parker’s license will not be eligible for reinstatement until he undergoes a psychosexual evaluation.

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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.