Former massage therapist accused by 19 women of sex crimes pleads guilty

Tarek Mentouri, the former massage therapist accused by 19 women of sex crimes, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to six crimes.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 12:35 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Tarek Mentouri, the former massage therapist accused by 19 women of sex crimes, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to six crimes, including felony sexual battery, as part of a plea deal that will place him on the sex offender registry and sentence him to prison for six years.

Mentouri pleaded guilty to three felony counts of sexual battery, two misdemeanor assault/provocative contact charges, and one misdemeanor charge of criminal impersonation. As part of the plea deal, Mentouri will be eligible for consideration of early release from prison after serving 30% of his six-year sentence.

“If I get to see him in a jumpsuit, that’s kind of nice for me,” said Peyton Parker, who was the first woman to contact WSMV4 Investigates after she said Mentouri sexually violated her during a job interview.

Mentouri’s pleaded guilty to sexual battery in Parker’s case.

“He’s awful, and he did awful things to people, and they’ve had awful experiences,” April Parker, Peyton’s mother, said.

The most serious charge, rape, was dismissed as part of the plea deal.

While Mentouri faced charges brought by 15 women, WSMV4 Investigates has spoken with at least 19 women who accuse him of sex crimes.

Some of the women live outside of Davidson County.

The guilty pleas come just as Mentouri’s trial was set to begin next week on a charge of criminally impersonating the former news director of WSMV-TV, which occurred in the midst of an ongoing WSMV4 investigation.

His trial on the sex crimes was set to begin next year.

WSMV4 Investigates has been investigating Mentouri since 2020, revealing that despite women filing police reports and contacting the state health department about accusations of sex crimes following massages or job interviews, he was not arrested nor was his license suspended.

It was only after WSMV4 Investigates exposed the details of the women’s claims was Mentouri at last arrested and had his license stripped.

Up until the hearing today, Mentouri has always denied the women’s claims.

When asked why Mentouri changed his denial, his attorney, Joseph Morrisey, had no comment.

Mentouri is already in the downtown detention center after a judge found he had violated his bond after being accused of stalking by an Atlanta woman.

When asked why the rape charge was dismissed, assistant district attorney Sarah Sarah Wolfson Butler sent an email read, “We are very pleased with the outcome and knowing that this sexual predator admits to his actions. Our office fought vigorously for every victim on this case. Ultimately, we have to weigh the evidentiary strength of each case and a large part of that assessment is victim cooperation. We deeply respect and appreciate the patience and support of the many victims in this case. Thanks to their efforts, this predator is off the streets.”

WSMV4 Investigates did confirm that in a zoom meeting with as many victims as the district attorney’s office could come in contact with, that all of the victims agreed to the plea deal.

“I’m satisified as I can be with what we got,” Peyton Parker said. “Getting any jail time for him is great and having him on the sex offender registry is extremely important. He obviously did more serious crimes, and it would be great if he had been convicted of those. But you’ve got to take what you can.”