MIAMI – Reisner Brizuela’s career as a massage therapist in Florida is at risk after a Massage Envy customer accused him of sexual assault. He is now only allowed to have male clients.
Although the Miami-Dade County criminal case is still pending, the Florida Department of Health had enough evidence to restrict Brizuela’s license.
Dr. Scott A. Rivkees, Florida’s surgeon general, signed an emergency order last week after he concluded Brizuela “poses a significant danger to female patients.”
A 31-year-old woman told a police officer on Sept. 8 that Brizuela, 44, turned a 90-minute massage into a traumatic experience. She said he caught her off guard, as she was laying on her stomach and wearing only her underwear.
The victim told officers she was under a blanket when Brizuela began to massage her right upper inner thigh. She reported he rubbed her vaginal area, moved her underwear, and finished the abuse by squeezing her buttocks with both hands.
Officers arrested Brizuela on Sept. 16 and Miami-Dade prosecutors charged him with battery. He was released on a $1,500 bond on Sept. 17.
Records show Brizuela first received his massage therapy license in Florida on Feb. 12, 2013. The record that prompted Rivkees to issue the emergency order was not public on the Florida Department of Health site.
It’s not an isolated case. For years, hundreds of women have claimed they have been victims of sexual assault at Massage Envy locations nationwide, according to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, a non-profit watchdog.