Deputies: Massage therapist had previous complaints

LARGO, Fla. - A massage therapist facing sexual battery charges made his first court appearance in Pinellas County on Tuesday.

Ronald Bruinius was arrested Monday night.

Deputies say they received a complaint from a woman last month who said he touched her inappropriately during a session and further investigation revealed she wasn't the first to issue a complaint.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says over the last year, three other people have filed complaints against Bruinius.

However, no charges were ever filed and he was able to keep a clean record.

"I was devastated, because it did not fit his character," said Donna Mansbart.

Mansbart is a hair stylist at Artistic Expressions Day Spa on 104th Ave in Largo, the spa where, investigators say, the incident happened.

The Sheriff's office says last month a woman came to them saying Bruinius touched her inappropriately during a massage session at the spa.

The victim in this case was the fourth person to issue a complaint in the last year.

"The previous allegations and the current allegations, which was what caused the arrest last night, are quite similar," said Cecilia Barreda, a spokesperson with the Sheriff's Office.

But the previous complaints didn't show up during a hiring process Mansbart was a part of.

"We felt that he was a very safe choice. We did background information, called references and everything worked out fine," she said.

Mansbart says there were no red flags, he was fully licensed and insured.

She says she felt so comfortable with him, she was one of his clients.

"I was grateful for him, because i have neck and back problems and he has kept me feeling wonderful and able to continue doing my job," said Mansbart.

Tuesday afternoon, Bruinius had his first appearance and was given a $50,000 bond.

Mansbart told us she wants to reassure customers that coming here is safe.

"Anybody that walks through this door now from this point forward, they need to understand that it's a safe secure environment, there's nothing out of the ordinary here and we would appreciate their patronage," she said.

Investigators say there could be more victims and are asking anyone with more information to call the Special Victims Unit at 727-582-6200.

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