Judge concerned by former massage therapist’s behavior but rules he did not violate bond
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Prosecutors argued on Friday a former massage therapist charged with sex crimes against women should lose all internet access because of his recent behavior towards a woman in Atlanta.
But a judge ruled despite her own concerns about his actions, Tarek Mentouri had not violated the terms of his bond.
A series of News4 Investigations revealed women’s frustrations with how long Mentouri was free to massage, despite years of police reports and complaints with the state that he was sexually violating customers and job seekers.
Following the News4 Investigation, Mentouri had his license revoked and was charged with 19 criminal counts.
Allowed to live in Atlanta pending trial to care for his ailing mother, Mentroui was outfitted with an ankle bracelet and had software installed on his electronic devices to block him from certain websites that prosecutors said he used to lure women to his home.
In December, a Duluth, GA, resident who asked us not to reveal her real name because of concerns about Mentouri, told News4 Investigates that she connected with him through the Next Door app and he requested to massage her without disclosing his criminal charges in Nashville.
Prosecutors then filed a motion with Judge Jennifer Smith to ban Mentouri from the internet.
On Friday, prosecutors told the judge that Mentouri is using Next Door to seek out new victims.
“(The internet is) his hunting ground, that is what he’s doing. The state wanted you to know what’s going on before it got too late,” Assistant District Attorney Chadwick Jackson said.
The Duluth, GA, woman agreed to let News4 Investigates reveal her identity as she testified Friday at the hearing.
Dr. Diana Eidson said when they met in person, he had a specific request.
“He wanted to give me a massage,” Eidson said. “He wanted to come to my place, and I told him that was not going to happen.”
“There is no other reason for him to give free massages to other people other than for him to satisfy this deviant sexual interest in touching women,” Jackson said.
Joseph Morrisey, Mentouri’s attorney, argued that Next Door was not one of the prohibited sites and he is not forbidden from offering free massages.
“We are here today because of a conversation on a website with an individual that was not prohibited, about behavior that was not prohibited, discussing many different things, again, not prohibited actions,” Morrisey said.
Smith ruled that Mentouri had not violated his bond but put him on notice.
“This behavior that you’re engaging in while they are not unlawful, had they crossed that line, you would be sitting (in jail) right now. I hope you understand that,” Smith said.
News4 Investigates asked several questions to Mentouri after his hearing, but he continued to say he was deaf and could not hear.
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