3rd Woman Charges DC Massage Therapist With Sexual Abuse

WASHINGTON – A former massage therapist has been charged with improper conduct toward a third female client in D.C.

Habtamu Gebreslassie, of Silver Spring, Maryland, was charged Thursday with a count of second-degree sexual assault against a woman during a massage session at Deluca Massage and Bodywork, on P Street in Northwest, in June. The woman told police that the therapist touched her inner thigh near her groin.

Gebreslassie was charged on Sunday with first-degree sexual abuse of a patient or client, and second-degree sexual abuse, at a Massage Envy location in Tenleytown during a session that day. On Wednesday, he was charged with attempted second-degree sexual assault in an incident at the same location in late August.

He pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges in a hearing Thursday. Judge Milton Lee ordered him held without bond and said it’s not clear how many potential victims there could be.

During Thursday’s hearing, D.C. Police Det. Darryl Richmond explained that after he interviewed the woman who called police on Sunday, he learned about another recent report involving one of Gebreslassie’s clients. He spoke with that woman who identified Gebreslassie from a picture on social media and made the accusation about the August incident.

Richmond said both women told nearly identical stories: Gebreslassie put a cloth over their face, engaged in inappropriate conduct and then apologized after being confronted about it, claiming that he had never done it before.

Gebreslassie is due back in court next month.

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli and Michelle Basch contributed to this report.

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