NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The license was revoked for a Nashville massage therapist facing an ongoing criminal investigation for complaints of inappropriate sexual behavior towards his clients.
The State Board of Massage licensure voted unanimously on Wednesday to revoke the license for Tarek Mentouri, who has been the focus of several News4 Investigates stories.
At least six women have either filed police reports or provided email and text conversations with Mentouri. They have told News4 Investigates that he inappropriately touched them or himself during massages.
“He engaged in sexualized and unprofessional behavior with these clients. He did things like asking if they’d ever been kissed on their feet,” said Marc Guilford, General Counsel for the Board.
Guilford also presented evidence during the hearing that Mentouri took out ads on the now defunct online marketplace Backpage.com offering his massage services that appeared to be sexual.
Mentouri did not appear at the online hearing and did not have legal representation.
While Mentouri’s former clients, such as Kelly Cochrane, said they are pleased the board took action, they are upset that it took so long.
Cochrane filed a complaint with the board in 2018 and alerted police.
“At the time when it happened, I feel like I did everything I could to try and get his license revoked,” Cochrane said.
Two years later, former clients like Leah, who asked that we only use her first name, said Mentouri put his genitals on her during a massage.
“I was sort of aghast at how many years there have been complaints against him,” Leah said.
News4 Investigates reached out to the board and their general counsel asking for an explanation as to why it took years for the hearing to be held. They have not replied to our request.
News4 Investigates reached out to Mentouri for comment by phone and through text and received a reply from Mentouri’s number from someone claiming to be a family member.
That family member, who later spoke to News4 Investigates by phone and would not give his name, claimed that Mentroui had passed away within the last two days in Gwinnett County, GA.
Identifying himself as Mentouri’s brother, the caller said that he did not know how his brother passed away.
News4 Investigates reached out to the Gwinnett County coroner and police department, but neither had reports of a death with Mentroui’s name.
News4 Investigates did reach out to the Georgia Department of Vital Records, but a recording at their phone number indicated the system was down.
In his interview with News4 Investigates last month, Mentouri addressed the possibility he could lose his license.
“As to long term, whether or not I should be practicing or not, or licensed or not, I’m not a harm to the public. I would never sexually assault someone,” Mentouri said.