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Health News Florida

Massage Licenses Could Be Revoked Over Sexual Misconduct

A Southwest Florida massage therapist and massage establishment should lose their licenses and be forced to pay thousands of dollars in fines after allegations of sexual misconduct, a state administrative law judge recommended this week.

The recommendation by Judge John D.C. Newton, which goes to the Florida Department of Health, stems from undercover investigations by the Lee County Sheriff's Office and the Naples Police Department.

Newton wrote that massage therapist Jianping Liu was charged with prostitution after a March 2014 incident in which she inappropriately touched an officer during a massage at her Bonita Springs home. A deferred-prosecution agreement was reached, but in July 2014, she was accused of similar misconduct in an incident at the Queen Spa in Naples.

Newton recommended Monday that Liu and the establishment lose their licenses and pay a combined total of $6,750 in fines.

"Sexual innuendo or stimulation is a problem in massage therapy,'' he wrote. "The industry has worked to remove it from the practice to create a safe and therapeutic environment."

Backyard Gun Range Bill Gets Go-Ahead

Trying to address issues such as backyard gun ranges, a Senate panel Tuesday approved a bill (SB 130) that would put restrictions on people who recreationally fire weapons in residential areas.

The Senate Community Affairs Committee unanimously approved the measure, which Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, filed for the 2016 legislative session.

A staff analysis pointed to reports about people constructing gun ranges in their backyards, with neighbors being concerned for safety.

The bill would prevent people from recreationally firing guns in areas with residential densities of one or more dwelling unit per acre. It would include some exemptions, including an exemption added Tuesday to make clear people would not be prosecuted for accidentally firing weapons.

The bill also was unanimously approved last month by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

A similar House bill (HB 41), sponsored by Rep. Neal Combee, R-Polk City, and Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, is scheduled to go before the House Local and Federal Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

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