Massage Envy employee charged with battery could have more victims

- A Sarasota massage therapist is behind bars after two clients say he touched them inappropriately.  Investigators think there could be more victims.

Ruslan Grushco was arrested at his Sarasota apartment Monday, the second time the 44-year-old was picked up by detectives this month.  

Investigators say Grushco inappropriately touched at least two women while he was giving them massages.  One was during a private session at the victim’s home, and the other while he was working at the Massage Envy on Tamiami Trail.  

Officials tell FOX 13 News the licensed massage therapist only worked at the franchise business from June 2017 to August 2017

"If he's capable of doing it to at least two women that we know of at this time, we do believe, just based on our investigation, that there could be additional victims," said Genevieve Judge with Sarasota police.

The first woman went to the authorities back in August after a 90-minute session with Grushco at Massage Envy.  Court papers say the 44-year-old claimed he had low vision and was legally blind before the massage started.  The woman told investigators while she was on the table, Grushco ran his hands along her inner thighs, and touched her private area, then placed his hands on her throat in a threatening manner, before rubbing her ears sexually.

"After interviewing additional clients, additional possible witnesses in this case, we were able to come up with enough probably cause to charge this individual with battery," Judge said.

Grushco was arrested for that charge on February 2, and now a second victim has come forward.
Police say the woman also met Grushco during a massage session at Massage Envy.  However, she arranged for him to come to her house for a private session.  That massage took place in July, and according to arrest paperwork, Grushco grabbed and massaged the victim's breasts without her consent.

"We're just glad that she came forward to let us know about these allegations so our detectives can do what they do best, and that is to take people like this off the street," said Judge.

The owners of the Massage Envy location tell FOX 13 News Grushco was fired as soon as they found out about the allegations in August, and they're cooperating fully with police.

Massage Envy LLC released this statement:

"The reported conduct of this therapist is unacceptable and violates our Code of Conduct and Zero Tolerance Policy.  The therapist is no longer employed by the franchisee, and the franchisee will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in its investigation. The safety and well-being of clients and therapists has been our mission from day one. Our Commitment to Safety plan further strengthens our existing policies and procedures to help drive thoughtful, meaningful change across our business and the industry." 

Police believe there may be additional victims.

"We are encouraging anybody that’s gone to this Massage Envy, that recognizes this individual, if you’ve had inappropriate contact with him please let our detectives know," Judge said.

That ask potential victims to call Detective Kim Laster at 941-364-7327 or to leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS.

The Florida Department of Health says Grushco still holds a clear and active massage therapy license.  The department will do a preliminary investigation when a practitioner is arrested, but it takes a conviction before the license can be revoked. 

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