No record of conviction on massage license

Left to right: John Ashby and Lance Martinez
Left to right: John Ashby and Lance Martinez

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two masseurs at Massage Green Spa, located inside the CenterPoint mall in Grand Rapids, have been convicted of criminal sexual conduct.

John Ashby, 54, was sentenced Thursday to between one and 15 years in state prison for third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Lance Martinez, 34, was sentenced to three months in jail for inappropriately touching a client.

Massage Green Spa
The Massage Green Spa storefront at the Shops at CenterPoint in Grand Rapids. (July 25, 2016)

Yet, a search of their massage therapy license statuses with the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs division shows both men still have active licenses, with no complaints or disciplinary action.

24 Hour News 8 asked LARA officials if they are aware that these men have convictions, and discovered that both men have open investigations on their licenses, however, that does not appear on their public license information.

Officials say under public health code an open investigation is not a final decision and investigations involving health care professionals are confidential before a formal complaint is issued. Any final decision where disciplinary action has been taken must be included on their website.

Although Ashby will likely be in prison for at least the next year, Martinez is schedule to be released from Kent County jail on Oct. 8. His massage therapy license, at this point, is still valid until Oct. 31, 2016, which means he’ll have 23 days as a free man, convicted of a sexual crime, with a valid massage therapy license.

LARA officials tell 24 Hour News 8 that in accordance to Michigan Public Health Code statute, the agency has 90 days after an investigation is initiated by the department to take action. That action could be issuing a formal complaint, issuing a summary suspension, conducting a compliance conference, or issuing a cease and desist order. It’s also possible for the agency to dismiss the allegation, and 24 Hour News 8 will be following up to see what action the agency takes against the licenses for Martinez and Ashby.

Although LARA conducts criminal background tests on anyone applying for a license, the agency is not permitted to conduct subsequent checks on licensees. When a current licensee goes to renew their license, a criminal background check is not required but public health code does requires a licensee to notify the department of any criminal conviction within 30 days.



State massage therapy licensing guide (pdf)