Massage therapist accused of sexual misconduct fired from Issaquah clinic

June 17, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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UPDATED — 2:05 p.m. June 17, 2013

Days after state health officials suspended the license of Newcastle massage therapist Matthew E. Usher, his current employer, Elements Therapeutic Massage Issaquah, terminated him from its staff.

A charge of sexual misconduct with a patient at Newcastle’s Massage Envy led the state agency to immediately suspend his license.

Usher was criminally charged in King County Superior Court with indecent liberties, after he allegedly reached under the draping and touched a patient’s breast during a December 2012 massage treatment. He pleaded not guilty and a subsequent hearing is scheduled for July 11.

Usher began working at the Elements Therapeutic Massage in January, according to owner Glenda Sue Poletti. At the time of hiring, Usher was properly insured and licensed, she said.

“If someone does not have a license or liability insurance, we take them off the schedule until they get that sorted out,” she said. “In this situation, we did go ahead and terminate his employment.”

He worked at the Issaquah location for roughly six months, and never received any customer complaints, Poletti said.

“People loved him,” she said. “They were very comfortable with him. I myself have received a massage from him.”

Usher cannot practice massage in Washington until the charges are resolved. He has 20 days to respond to the charges and to ask for a hearing.

“There’s no question that the problem of legitimate massage therapy being tarred by the underworld of illicit massage parlors and that sort of thing, that does go on,” Poletti said. “We are very much trying to put forth a legitimate therapeutic, health care-related side of massage.”

According to court documents, Usher, 30, last lived in Maple Valley, and had worked at the Newcastle Massage Envy for six years.

The incident occurred in December 2012, and immediately after it happened, the Massage Envy owners told Usher that he “did not have a job there anymore,” according to court documents.

It was reportedly the second 90-minute massage that the patient had with Usher. The first one was described as “normal,” according to court documents.

Legal documents are available by clicking the link to “Look up a healthcare provider license” on the Department of Health website or by calling 360-236-4700.

The Department of Health protects and promotes public health, safety and welfare in Washington by regulating the competency and quality of health care providers.

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