Massage therapist charges planned

Staff reports

The 23rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office will move forward with criminal charges against a suspended Gonzales massage therapist accused of fondling clients.

Prosecutors charged 34-year-old Jason Hood on Aug. 31 with one count of sexual battery and five counts of prohibited massage/sexual conduct.

Gonzales police officers investigated Hood after alleged incidents occurred in May and July at Elegant Touch Nail Salon and Spa.

Judge Ralph Tureau ruled after a Nov. 9 preliminary exam that there was probable cause for the sexual battery charge and for one of the five sexual conduct counts.

Hood, arrested July 16, has been out on a $60,000 bond since July 17.

According to Gonzales Police Detective Steven Nethken, Hood reportedly inappropriately touched the groin areas and fondled women’s breasts.

Investigators obtained a list of more than 50 of Hood’s clients.

Hood reportedly began working at the salon in May, and resigned about two weeks before his arrest.

The Louisiana State Board of Massage Therapy, which oversees licensed therapists, brought seven civil charges against Hood in October. The board suspended his license pending the outcome of the criminal charges.

The civil charges include engaging in unprofessional conduct likely to endanger safety and public welfare, failure to drape clients properly, and two counts of engaging in, attempting to or offering to engage a client in sexual activity.

According to the board’s records, Hood obtained a license May 29, 2008.