(WSVN) - She has a stressful job as a law enforcement officer and liked getting routine massages to relieve her stress — but in one massage, she says, she was groped. The way she reacted as a law enforcement officer surprised her, which is why she is talking to 7’s Patrick Fraser with her “Warning to Women.”
Law enforcement is a tough job. It’s dangerous, whether you are catching criminals or keeping them behind bars.
“Cindy”: “It’s very stressful, is demanding, and you always have to be on alert.”
Since she is in law enforcement, we are not showing her face, and we are calling her Cindy. She has a way she loves to cope with her stressful life.
“Cindy”: “My pastime is definitely massages. Every month, me and my best friend, we go to Fontainebleau faithfully, and it’s wonderful.”
Then, she says, a massage was not wonderful.
“Cindy”: “Kind of like towards the end of the massage, I noticed that the guy is rubbing around the breast area.”
Cindy says she didn’t move. Then…
“Cindy”: “He starts doing the whole breast, both at the same time, in a very aggressive manner. He was groping me, definitely.”
Being in law enforcement, Cindy is not shy and used to being in control. At that moment, she was not.
“Cindy”: “I went blank. In one part of my brain, I was like, ‘Jump up, curse him out, and run,’ and then one part was like, ‘OK, this will definitely be over soon.'”
Cindy says it seemed like an hour, but it was just a couple of minutes.
“Cindy”: “That’s the only thing I said, ‘God, please let this be over.'”
It was over, and instead of complaining to the hotel, she went home.
“Cindy”: “The next day, that area was sore.”
Three days later, she spoke to a friend about the incident.
“Cindy”: “She was like, You need to do something.'”
Cindy contacted the Fontainebleau and then went to the Miami Beach Police Department to file a complaint.
Officer Ernesto Rodriguez, Miami Beach Police: “It’s still being investigated. In fact, right now, it’s still an open case.”
In this case, the massage therapist is being accused of battery. Since there was no penetration, it’s a misdemeanor and not a felony.
Officer Ernesto Rodriguez: “There are still a few steps that he needs to do to, hopefully, make an arrest or provide some sort of closure for that victim.”
One hurdle for the police: Cindy waited three days to report the incident.
Charlene Lewis: “That delay is part of shock.”
Charlene Lewis counsels sex abuse victims. She says women often wait before reporting an incident.
Charlene Lewis: “Women can start going into denial or minimizing, like, ‘It wasn’t that bad,’ or, ‘Maybe he didn’t really do this.’ We kind of start making excuses sometimes ’cause there’s a lot of fear. There’s a lot of fear of admitting, ‘Yes, I am a victim.'”
In 2017, another Fontainebleau massage therapist was accused of battery on a customer. He was arrested and agreed to plead guilty.
We contacted the Fontainebleau to see if the man Cindy is accusing of battery still works for them. They did not answer that question but sent a statement explaining they “work diligently to ensure a safe and comfortable environment,” adding, ‘The resort is cooperating fully with the Miami Beach Police Department, as well as conducting its own internal investigation.”
In the meantime, Cindy says she has not gotten a massage after what’s happened to her, and she doesn’t know if she ever will again.
“Cindy”: “Never thought this would ever happen to me. It’s a very embarrassing situation. It’s very scary.”
She now knows that, and has a warning to women: speak up, right away.
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