A former Franklin massage therapist has been arrested after three women reported he groped and fondled them during their massage.
Ryan B. Farmer, 24, 651 Yandes St., was arrested and charged with three counts of battery.
The women reported between March and May that Farmer had touched their breasts during their massage at the CMG Family Wellness Clinic, located at 198 E. Jefferson St., according to court records.
Farmer was fired when the clinic found out what had happened after the second report was made in May, co-owner Georgianne Pangallo said.
“We turned everything over to the police department as soon as we became aware of any situation. And he was let go from the office,” she said.
Pangallo called the incidents devastating to the business in downtown Franklin.
All three women reported the same story: the massage had been normal until they rolled from their stomach onto their back. They told police Farmer then began touching their breasts, which lasted anywhere from 10 minutes to a half-hour, the reports said.
One of the women told police Farmer told her, “This stays between you and I,” the report said.
All of the women left the clinic without reporting the fondling because they were unsure whether what had happened was inappropriate, and were afraid of what Farmer might do if confronted, the reports said. The women told police they rarely, if ever, had gotten massages, the reports said.
But all three later contacted police to report what had happened after talking with relatives, friends and co-workers about the incidents.
Police interviewed Farmer. After the first report in March, Farmer denied the allegations. When a second report was made in May, and then a third from women with back-to-back appointments the same day, he declined to answer questions and said he wanted to hire an attorney, the report said.
Farmer was charged with three misdemeanor counts of battery, which carry a possible sentence of up to six months in jail. The misdemeanors were the highest charge Farmer could face because the reports did not meet what was required under the law for a felony sexual battery charge, deputy prosecutor Ryan Bland said.
What the women reported did not meet two requirements under the law for sexual battery: proving that the acts were done with a sexual intent and that Farmer used force to commit them, Bland said.
Unless the prosecutor’s office receives additional information, no other charges are being considered, Bland said.
He does not suspect there are other victims, he said.
Massage therapists are required to be licensed by the state. Information on Farmer’s license was not available on Tuesday.