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Massage therapist arrested for rape in Butler

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BUTLER, Ind. (WPTA21) -- A long-time massage therapist in DeKalb County is charged with raping one of his clients while she was on his table.

In court papers, the man admitted to the crime.

"Dude gets what he deserves," Butler resident Eugene White II says.

Residents in the DeKalb County community of Butler are stunned and outraged that longtime massage therapist 57-year-old James Whitman of Creative Touch Massage is charged with the rape of one of his clients.

The owner of the Butler Creative Massage Clinic is charged with raping a client earlier this month.

"It's just like raping a child, you're taking the child's innocence, now you're taking the town's innocence and the victim's innocence away from them," White says.

"I'd drag his hind end behind a truck if it was me. I think any man that rapes a woman or tries to take advantage of her ought to be dragged behind a truck. Or put in prison. Myself, I don't believe in it. I'm old fashioned," Butler resident Wayne Hale says.

Court documents say earlier this month, a woman told police she'd hurt her pectoral muscles and that her physical therapist recommended her regular massage therapist, Whitman, work on them.

The woman told detectives that during the massage, Whitman massaged those muscles, then said he rubbed her breast in a manner she thought was outside the area of a normal massage.

She said whitman then rubbed her thigh, and without warning, violated her with his fingers and put his mouth on her breast.

The court papers say she jumped up, ended the appointment, and went to police.

"Scenarios like this certainly can have a negative influence on the industry," Lynsey Saylor says.

Saylor is the chair of the massage therapy program at Ivy Tech.

In addition to hands-on training, she teaches classes including ethics that address issues like informed consent, the right of refusal for the therapist and client, and how to professionally deal with what she calls an inadvertent biological response, or arousal.

She says Ivy Tech students are thoroughly screened before being accepted.

"In our program we have background checks, a drug screen, and all their health docs. So coming into the program they're pretty well established for being applicable to the profession," Saylor says.

Whitman's websites say he's been in practice for more than 10 years.

He has a certificate of education from a Fort Wayne massage program, but was not approved by the state as a certified massage therapist, or CMT.

Saylor says the state has already approved elevating licensing standards in the next few years for massage therapists beyond carrying individual liability insurance and having 625 hours of experience and training.

The court documents outline another woman's allegations that Whitman touched her inappropriately during a massage two years ago.

Charges have not been filed in that case.

To check a specific massage therapist's state license, click here.

Corinne Rose reported this story.

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A Butler massage therapist is behind bars for allegedly raping a client.

57-year-old James (Jim) Whitman, owner of Butler Creative Touch Massage faces one charge of rape -- a level 3 felony -- after Indiana State Police investigated allegations made against him in early January.

According to investigators, a woman said Whitman performed non-consensual sexual acts during a massage. During the investigation, a second woman came forward with a similar allegation from two years ago.

Police interviewed Whitman and discovered he didn't have a massage therapy license through the State of Indiana. Whitman did have a certificate from the Center for Vital Living School of Massage Therapy, according to investigators.

Police took Whitman into custody around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

He is being held at the DeKalb County Jail.

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Ian Hoover

Ian Hoover is the Managing Editor of Fort Wayne’s NBC and ABC21. His focus is managerial oversight of content including working with reporters on elements for their stories and with producers for deeper content in newscasts; long-range planning and content development; editorial meeting oversight; and special projects management.

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