State finally revokes massage license of sex offender - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

State finally revokes massage license of sex offender

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Massage therapist Michael McIntosh. Massage therapist Michael McIntosh.
Massage therapist Ronald Bruinius. Massage therapist Ronald Bruinius.
Six months ago, licensed massage therapist Michael McIntosh pleaded guilty to molesting one of his clients.

Last month he "voluntarily relinquished" his state license.

Two days ago, the Florida Board of Massage stamped their approval on his relinquishment -effectively banning him from future practice in Florida.

But unsuspecting consumers who visit the Florida Department of Health website would read that McIntosh has no complaints or discipline on his record. The same goes for licensed massage therapist Ronald Bruinius, arrested Monday for sexual battery on a client.  The DOH website says Bruinius' massage license is "clear and active." 

Bruinius' DOH license as a certified nursing assistant is also intact, even after an elderly man with cerebral palsy accused Bruinius of fondling him while serving as his caregiver. There have been no criminal charges regarding that case because the victim told detectives he did not want to pursue prosecution against Bruinius. The victim said "he had just wanted it all to stop," according to a police report in June.

Related: Largo massage therapist held on $50k bond for sex offense

Pinellas Sheriff's detectives say they know of two other prior complaints alleging sex crimes by Bruinius and are investigating half a dozen new complaints following the announcement of his arrest this week.

But as far as the state's health agency is concerned, if Bruinius manages to post a $50,000 bond and get out of jail, he can return to his massage table immediately with his license in good standing. He can also find work as a state-licensed CNA.

That's not the only apparent gap in state regulation by the DOH. A recent 8 on Your Side investigation uncovered eight registered sex offenders who had "clear and active" state massage licenses despite their criminal histories.

The Florida Department of Health says it is diligently protecting the public, but hasn't explained how registered sex offenders manage to qualify for state massage licenses. 

DOH Press Secretary Sheri Hutchinson says she can neither confirm nor deny whether her agency is investigating Bruinius for a possible suspension or revocation of his license following his arrest for sexually battering a massage client.

Hutchinson said the DOH acted in accordance with agency protocol in the handling of McIntosh's license investigation.

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