State suspends license of massage therapist accused of rape

A Pasco man accused of second-degree rape while working as a massage therapist has had his license suspended by the state.

The state Department of Health announced Thursday that Juan P. Ochoa has been charged with unprofessional conduct and suspended from practicing because of allegations that he had unwanted sexual contact with two female patients.

Ochoa was arrested in May after a patient reported that he sexually assaulted her during a massage in April at Columbia Spinal Rehabilitation Center in Kennewick where he worked.

He was charged with second-degree rape in Benton County and pleaded innocent in June.

Police told the Herald at the time that they had received a similar report from a patient of Ochoa's in 2008, but the investigation resulted in no charges being filed.

The unprofessional conduct charge is non-criminal and is a separate proceeding from the Benton County rape charge.

Documents detailing the unprofessional conduct charges allege that Ochoa on April 18 had an appointment with the victim, referred to as Patient A, for a massage session to treat a groin injury.

Patient A disrobed and covered her groin area with a cloth, but told officials she felt Ochoa touching her very close to her vaginal area and that the cloth was moved or slipped.

Ochoa then reportedly sexually assaulted her.

He then tried to pull her closer and she reported she thought he was positioning her to have sex.

Documents said he took the patient's hand and put it on his erect penis, but she pulled away and told him, "No." He apologized and reportedly said he had gotten carried away.

Patient A later went to Kennewick General Hospital for an exam, where doctors found possible signs of a recent sexual assault, documents said.

An earlier patient -- called Patient B -- had reported that she went to Ochoa for massage treatment in September and October 2008.

Documents said Ochoa told that patient during a session that he was having intimacy problems with his wife and tried to put the patient's hand on his penis, but the patient refused.

Ochoa has 20 days to respond to the charges and can't practice massage in Washington until the charges are resolved.

The charges can be viewed online by clicking "Look up a health care provider" on the Department of Health website at www.doh.wa.gov. Copies can be requested by calling 360-236-4700.

That's also the number to call to file complaints against health care providers in Washington.

-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com