Massage therapist accused of sexual battery - FOX 13 News

Massage therapist accused of sexual battery

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

Pinellas sheriff's detectives have reason to believe there may be more victims of a Largo masseur charged with sexual battery.

The claims of an unidentified 53-year old woman led to the arrest of 36-year old Ronnie Bruinius, who rented space in a Largo salon.

The victim told detectives she bought a package of five massages through Groupon, and was touched inappropriately twice. A spokesperson said the victim dismissed the first incident.

"She told detectives at that time that she did not confront him because she thought it might have been a mistake," Cecilia Barreda explained, adding that that happened during the woman's third massage by Bruinius.

"But when she returned for her final session, that is when there was an explicit touch that seriously concerned her and she stopped the session immediately," Barreda said.

That was last June. In November, another massage therapist encouraged the woman to report the incident. Detectives discovered three earlier reports that did not lead to an arrest.

"There are other complaints on him of a very, very similar nature between victims who obviously had never met each other," Barreda said. "That is why detectives think there may be other women who are afraid or embarrassed to come forward."

Donna Mansbart helps manage the salon where Bruinius rented space, and stayed fully booked.

"I was taken back because, personally, I do receive massages from Ron, I did, and he did help me," Mansbart said. She also said she helped with the background check on Bruinius, and the sheriff's office confirmed his license is current and in good standing.

Bruinius has no previous criminal history.

"Here, we're all independent contractors, we all rent our own space, we're all responsible for our own licensing and our clientele," Mansbart said.

At his first appearance Tuesday afternoon, Bruinius asked for a court-appointed attorney. He told the judge he makes $13 per hour and works about 50 hours a week.

"I help my parents and my ex-wife raise two children," the masseur told the judge, who appointed an attorney.

Bruinius's bond was set at $50,000.

Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify the accuser's account of the third massage session.

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