Miami-Dade County

Trial begins for former Coconut Grove massage therapist accused of sexual assault

A former massage therapist at a Coconut Grove salon is on trial today, charged with performing oral sex a several client against her will.

Victor Antonio Sanchez, 53, of Hialeah, who worked at Tiano Salon & Spa, was arrested in February and accused of sexual assault against a woman who later sued the business.

The prosecutor's office called Sanchez "unremorseful," saying he preyed upon unsuspecting women, abusing his access to them as a licensed therapist.

Sanchez’s attorney, however, disagreed, arguing that the case is only based on words of the alleged victim, who is “overly sensitive.”

“It’s a story of fabrication and manipulation,” said Miami-Dade assistant public defender Julia Seifer-Smith.

The defendant’s attorney also argued that the assigned detective, Michael Ali, willfully lied about having DNA evidence and other victims in order to get a confession from Sanchez. Ali is scheduled to continue his testimony this afternoon.

Two other women who say they have been victimized are expected to testify today as well. Sanchez has not been charged with assault in those cases.

Those two women came forward after the Herald reported that the spa maintained Sanchez as an employee despite at least one previous complaint of his lewd behavior, and that during the course of a lawsuit, the spa attempted to withhold the name of the woman who had previously complained.