Massage therapist charged with sexual battery

Local News

James Vonderheide

A massage therapist was arrested by Walton County Sheriff’s deputies after he allegedly sexually battered a woman during a massage, officials wrote in a news release.

On August 9th deputies responded to the complaint that occurred at Ocean Element Spa.

The victim told deputies she went in for a massage the previous day and that the therapist, later identified as James Vonderheide, 49, of DeFuniak Springs, had inappropriately touched her breasts and vaginal area during the encounter.

James Vonderheide

After the incident, the victim went back to her residence and disclosed to her husband what occurred. Later that day, the husband went to the spa and said he wanted to file a complaint regarding sexual misconduct and asked to speak with a manager and another employee as a witness. Vonderheide told the victim’s husband he could act as the manager and all three parties went into a separate room of the business and closed the door.

While confronting Vonderheide, the victim said the suspect never asked who he was but advised he was sorry. He took full responsibility and said, “I should not have done that.”

When the husband told him it was illegal, Vonderheide advised he knew it was. The husband left the place of business and called law enforcement.

Investigators interviewed Vonderheide who said he did not want to lose his license or make incriminating statements.

Based on the above statements, James Vonderheide was arrested for sexual battery.

He was transported and booked into the Walton County Jail and was given a $25,000 bond.

“The owners of Ocean Elements Spa cooperated fully with this investigation and at this time we believe this is an isolated incident,” deputies wrote.

However, anyone who believes they have been a victim of a similar crime is asked to contact the Walton County Sheriff’s Office at (850)-892-8111.

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