SIOUX CITY | A state board has suspended a Sioux City massage therapist's license for a minimum of five years for allegedly having inappropriate sexual contact with a client.
Kevin Trowbridge, owner of Massage & Body, was accused of unethical conduct by engaging in improper sexual contact or making suggestive, lewd, lascivious or improper remarks or advances to a client. The Iowa of Massage Therapy heard from Trowbridge on Dec. 5.
According to board documents, the unnamed female client booked a one-hour appointment with Trowbridge on July 3, 2015, something she had done semi-regularly with him since 2009.
During the massage, Trowbridge started massaging her upper body and back and moved to her buttocks. While massaging her buttocks, Trowbridge slipped his hand under her body several times and inserted his fingers into her vagina.
In her testimony to the board, the client said she didn’t initially respond to Trowbridge’s inappropriate contact because she was shocked and he had never done anything similar when she previously used his services.
At some point, Trowbridge told her she could turn over to lay on her back. As she turned over, she looked toward the bottom of the table, where Trowbridge was and saw that he was starting to climb up on the table. She told him she was married and can’t do that and he backed off the table.
After he completed the massage, the client said Trowbridge asked her, “How long have you wanted me to do that,” to which she replied that she didn’t.
The client left the parlor and paid for her services with a gift card and a cash tip she prepared beforehand.
In his counter testimony, Trowbridge argued that nothing inappropriate took place since she left him a tip. He also argued that the client was experiencing a flashback to her childhood sexual abuse during the massage and that this flashback was responsible for her belief that he had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with her during the massage.
In its ruling, the board said it found the client's testimony about the incident to be more credible than Trowbridge's version of events.
Although Trowbridge had no prior violations on his record, which dated back 17 years, the board sided with the client and determined he would be “a risk to public safety” if he were allowed to continue to practice.
In addition to not being allowed to practice for five years, Trowbridge was fined $75, and will be charged for any witness fees or expenses and the cost of transcription of the hearing.