SARASOTA, Fla. — A former Massage Envy employee arrested for battery after it was discovered he was inappropriately touching at least two clients against their will, is out and jail and still legally able to practice massage, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Ruslan Grushco, 44, was an employee over the summer at the Massage Envy at 1279 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.
The DOH would not confirm that the Florida Board of Massage Therapists has received any complaints about Grushco, however, the Sarasota Police Department and the owner of the Massage Envy where he worked, both say they've reported the incidents to the state.
"According to the department’s license verification site Ruslan Grushco holds a clear and active license with no public complaints or discipline," DOH spokesperson, Brad Dalton, said in an email. "There are no current restrictions on his license."
ABC Action News previously uncovered a tedious process of discipline at the massage board. In a case from 2016, it took nearly two years for the board to take action. He had been arrested for sexual battery twice. The board restricted his license to only working on men.
According to court documents, a judge did put restrictions on his release. Bond documents state that he shall have no contact with the victims. However, the documents do not mention anything about practicing massage.
A spokesperson for the Sarasota Police Department says they've received multiple calls about Grushco since his arrests. Detectives are currently reaching out to those callers.
The first victim to come forward said Grushco told her he had low vision and was legally blind. She also advised detectives that during her 90-minute session, Grushco lifted the sheet higher than normal and placed his hands in areas she is not normally accustomed to during the massage session.
During the session, the woman says he continued to touch her inappropriately and she asked him to stop. He reportedly asked if she was sure she wanted him to stop as he continued to touch her inappropriately.
She says at the end of the session, Grushco solicited the victim for her information to become a private client.
Grushco is no longer employed by Massage Envy because he solicited clients during his employment, which is against their policy.
Massage Envy released the following statement:
"The reported conduct of this therapist is unacceptable and violates our Code of Conduct and Zero Tolerance Policy. The therapist is no longer employed by the franchisee, and the franchisee will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in its investigation. The safety and well-being of clients and therapists has been our mission from day one. Our Commitment to Safety plan further strengthens our existing policies and procedures to help drive thoughtful, meaningful change across our business and the industry."
Statements were gathered from former instructors, clients and co-workers who also talked about inappropriate and unprofessional conduct involving Grushco.
Detectives said a second victim came forward late last week. Grushco was arrested again today on an additional battery charge after that victim came forward. According to detectives, the second victim came forward after he heard Grushco was arrested the first time.
Detectives said one of the incidents happened at the Massage Envy location and the other incident happened at the victim's home after he solicited her at Massage Envy for a private session.
Detectives believe there may be other victims.
"Right now we’ve had at least two that have come forward and he was employed with Massage Envy for about 2 to 3 weeks and we believe he saw several clients over that time. So, if he’s capable of doing it to at least two women that we know of at this time, we do believe just based on our investigation that there could be additional victims," Sarasota PD Public Information Officer, Genevieve Judge said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Kim Laster at 941-364-7327 or leave a tip with Crime Stoppers.
To file a complaint against a healthcare practitioner or establishment in Florida, click here.
According to the Florida Department of Health, currently Grushco's license is clear and active and there aren't any public complaints nor has any disciplinary action been taken against him. The state added if there is a complaint filed, they would only disclose it if they find probable cause.
"It sounds like to me from what you said that he overstepped any....anyone's boundaries of decency," Carlene Baime said.
Baime has visited Massage Envy twice, but she said she was never Grushco's client.
"I'm horrified. I think it's...you go in there to a place that you trust. You expect that they vet their employees and look at their backgrounds and that, that shouldn't happen," Baime said.