NewsHillsborough County


More victims come forward against an alleged fake masseuse

Jose Garcia.jpg
Posted at 8:28 AM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 16:41:51-04

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office detectives said more victims came forward Friday against a man claiming to be a masseuse who allegedly sexually battered at least one client.

Thursday, detectives said a woman suffering from back pain contacted Jose Garcia, 68, about receiving a massage in late March. After agreeing to a price for his services as a masseuse, deputies said the victim drove to Garcia's home in Ruskin, where he operated.

Detectives said he admitted to sexually battering the woman during the massage and is facing four counts of sexual battery.

Detectives did not find evidence that Garcia is a licensed masseuse. He claimed that he received his training in Mexico. It's believed that he has provided massage services for at least 12 years and has run his business through word of mouth out of his home. Most, if not all, of his clients, speak only Spanish.

In an update on the investigation, HCSO said a total of 14 victims have come forward alleging sexually battery. On top of the initial charges, Garcia faces an additional 10 counts of sexual battery and
nine counts of unlicensed massage practice

"This is a man, who took advantage of people who came to him seeking help for their ailments," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "Our fear now, is that there are more victims out there who may not speak English or know they can come forward to report these crimes. Thanks to our diverse group of talented, caring, and bilingual deputies, we are here to help them seek the justice they deserve."

With the two additional victims coming forward, Garcia faces additional charges of sexual battery, battery, and three counts of unlicensed massage practice.

Detectives said anyone who feels they have been victimized by Garcia should contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200.