Two women have filed lawsuits against a Fort Myers spa, saying they were sexually battered by an employee on the same day.
In the July 1 Lee County filings, the women state that Joshua Lowman, 37, of Cape Coral, touched them inappropriately and pressed his genitals against them during their massages on Jan. 4 at Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa on Daniels Parkway.
Florida Department of Health records show a similar complaint was filed against Lowman when he was working at Massage Luxe in Naples.
Each suit is demanding a jury trial and $1 million per case.
The women’s attorney, Adam Horowitz, said from the time of the incidents his office was investigating and building their case leading up to the filing of the lawsuits.
“There was a lot of back and forth with Hand and Stone, but we couldn’t come to an agreement,” Horowitz said.
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The women, from Wisconsin and California, filed incident reports with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
After speaking with the women and Lowman, deputies stated at the time that it appeared there was no probable cause a crime was committed, according to the incident report dated Jan. 9.
In the lawsuits, the women allege Lowman touched their bare breasts, touched their genital areas and thrust his genitals into their hands.
Both women stated they were in shock and did not say anything to Lowman about the alleged battery, according to the lawsuits. They also said they did not invite or consent to Lowman’s actions.
Hand and Stone denied the allegations but confirmed Lowman was the employee who performed both women’s massages, according to legal documents.
Hand and Stone also stated that they are not liable for an employee’s sexual battery of a third party and that Lowman’s alleged conduct was not within the scope of his employment. The spa in the court documents demands a jury trial.
The Florida Department of Health, citing Lowman’s alleged actions with the two women, on Tuesday issued an emergency restriction of his massage license. DOH records show a complaint was filed in January against Lowman regarding a similar incident while he was employed at Massage Luxe in Naples.
Lowman’s restriction prohibits him from practicing massage therapy on female clients.
Hand and Stone has not answered questions about Lowman’s employment status.
There are two other Hand and Stone locations in Southwest Florida, in Naples and Estero. A person who answered the phone at the Estero location on Saturday said it is independently owned and “has nothing to do with the Fort Myers location.” A phone call to the Naples location was not returned.
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