Source: Arizona Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ)
Date: December 14, 2004
Author: Holly Johnson, Scottsdale Republic
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Scottsdale Republic North
Index Terms: CRIME
A Scottsdale masseur charged in August with nine felony counts of sexual assault and abuse may not face jail time, according to a plea agreement brokered by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Charles Gonzalez Vasquez, 54, a former employee of Scottsdale-based Massage Envy Ltd., may instead be placed on lifetime probation and register as a sex offender.
In August, Vasquez initially pled not guilty to charges stemming from attacks on four female clients during massages at Massage Envy in the 32000 block of North Scottsdale Road in Cave Creek. He had worked there for a year when detectives arrested him Aug. 9.
According to police, Vasquez fondled women’s breasts and performed oral sex.
Vasquez agreed to plead guilty to two counts of attempted sexual assault, both felonies that each carries a maximum sentence of seven years. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 4 in Scottsdale Municipal Court.
Vasquez could have faced up to 55 years in prison under the initial charges.
His attorney, Scott Maasen, could not be reached for comment.
Criminal defense attorney Jason Laam, who has not worked with Vasquez, specializes in sexual assault and abuse cases and said the plea deal “seems very light, especially with multiple victims.”
But “there’s a roundtable every Wednesday (for prosecutors and attorneys), and they decide on plea offers for every single case,” he said. “This seems sort of light, but there had to be consensus among the group that this sentence fit.”
Vasquez may have fondled his clients as early as January.
Massage Envy owner and CEO Paul Stekly told investigators that at least four other female customers of the chain’s Scottsdale Summit location specifically asked not to be placed with Vasquez when returning for massages between January and April.
Though several said they didn’t feel comfortable with Vasquez, they didn’t elaborate as to why.
Vasquez told three victims that Massage Envy “does things a little differently” and asked them to tell him if anything he did made them uncomfortable.
One victim repeatedly told Vasquez to stop after he fondled her breasts and genitals and began to perform oral sex on her. She told the receptionist what happened and was not charged for the massage.
In a phone conversation monitored by police investigators, Vasquez said “whatever he did with her, she was all right with,” when confronted with the allegations.
Another victim told police Vasquez rubbed his erection against her while massaging her breasts, and a third said he fondled her breasts.
At the time of his arrest, Vasquez was a licensed therapist with a clean record and “came highly recommended from fellow massage therapists,” according to Officer Steve Toubus, who oversees massage businesses.
CAPTION: Charles Vasquez
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Record Number: pho103496410