OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — A massage therapist out of Ottawa County has been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree, meaning it involves force or coercion.
40-year-old Jason Arthur Mitchell, of Sparta, was arraigned in Hudsonville on Wednesday after allegedly assaulting two clients in November, police say. Mitchell operated Aether Elements Massage Therapy in Tallmadge Township.
The first incident occurred on Nov. 2, 2021. A 41-year-old Middleville woman reported to police that she had attended a massage appointment where Mitchell touched her inappropriately.
According to court documents, "during the course of the massage, while she was undressed, the individual that she knew as Jason Mitchell rubbed her breast and across her nipples on four different occasions."
During the investigation, a 43-year-old Kentwood woman said that she was also touched inappropriately on her breasts during her appointment with Mitchell on Nov. 2, 2021.
Court documents also said that Mitchell admitted to fondling the women's breasts but told detectives it was because of his training. Detectives verified with the school in Grand Rapids that this is not part of their training and in fact they are encouraged to avoid that area at all costs.
"This is a criminal violation because the client goes in there to have a medical service provided, which in this case was massage therapy, and is touched in an unwanted way in a sexual manner," said Capt. Jake Sparks with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office, "and obviously, that's inappropriate. The victims are obviously in a vulnerable position when they go in there to have a massage performed on them and that trust is violated between the clinician and the client, which is what makes it a crime."
Once the charges were filed, Sparks said that Mitchell turned himself in. He was arraigned on Wednesday and is now free on a $10,000 bond and will be back in court at the end of the month.
Police say investigators are working with Licensing and Regulatory Affairs authorities. Mitchell was licensed to operate a massage therapy business.
These incidents remain under investigation.
Sparks also said that their office is concerned that there could be other victims, and he encouraged anyone who may have a similar experience at the massage center or with Mitchell to please call 911, the sheriff's office or report it to Silent Observer at 1-877-88-Silent or www.mosotips.com.
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