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Man posing as a massage therapist now facing felony charges



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Prosecutors in Salt Lake County have filed more charges against a man accused of posing as a massage therapist and inappropriately touching women.

The charges include multiple counts of felony forcible sexual abuse. If convicted, Robert Battle could serve prison time and be required to register as a sex offender.

"We do not file charges unless we feel we have a certain amount of evidence that justifies us in filing charges," said Alicia Cook, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors say Battle sexually abused two women during what were supposed to be massage sessions.

"He touched areas of their bodies he did not have permission to touch, and no professional massage therapist should have engaged in behavior that he did," Cook said.

Battle recently graduated from massage therapy school, but police in Cottonwood Heights say he did not have a license.

Battle was a trainer at Lifetime Fitness in South Jordan, where he met two of the alleged victims. Prosecutors say he misrepresented himself to one of them.

"He claimed that he had gone to medical school, that he had 15 years of training. This is obviously information she had relied on and went to him for massage therapy," Cook said.

But Battle's attorney, Catherine Cleveland, who did not want to go on camera, says Battle is innocent and will fight the charges. She says Battle took out a multi-million dollar insurance policy to open a business, and that the women involved are after the money.

After a court hearing last week, Battle said he had no comment. He appeared in court on misdemeanor charges of practicing massage without a license and sexual battery.

Battle is scheduled to be in court again Thursday morning. His attorney says he will turn himself in on an arrest warrant.

Prosecutors say they are still reviewing other cases police have brought to them. A decision on those cases has not been made.

E-mail: syi@ksl.com

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Sandra Yi

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