Business

Eastern Iowa massage therapist accused of sexual harassment

License is suspended by Iowa Board of Massage Therapy for minimum of six months

CEDAR RAPIDS — The state has suspended the license of a Cedar Rapids-based massage therapist who has been accused of sexually harassing female clients and a female co-worker.

Scott Zahren’s license was suspended for a minimum of six months by the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy. Zahren, a South Amana resident who was a massage thereapist at Hands in Harmony in Cedar Rapids, is required to complete training in sexual harassment and massage ethics.

“The board notes that Zahren has exhibited a pattern of crossing professional boundaries in the workplace and minimizing concerns that female clients and co-workers have raised about his conduct,” according to documents posted Jan. 30 by the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy.

Zahren is charged with unethical conduct during events that date back to 2016. A co-worker at Hands in Harmony in Cedar Rapids filed a complaint with the state board, stating that an unidentified female client complained to her about an experience with Zahren.

According to the documents, the client told a state investigator Zahren exposed her breasts during a May 2016 massage three or four times. The client said that when she pulled the sheet to cover herself, Zahren laughed and pulled the sheet back down. The client also told the investigator that when she tucked the sheet around herself, Zahren said, “You’re shy, aren’t you?”

The co-worker also complained to the board that Zahren touched her and made comments about her appearance while they were working at Hands in Harmony, according to the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy.

The co-worker relayed concerns about these interactions to the Hands in Harmony owner in written reports in February or March 2016, according to the board.

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The board’s findings also reported an incident with General Mills, which contracted with Hands in Harmony to provide on-site massages during an employee health and safety fair. According to the board, General Mills’ human resources department notified Hands in Harmony in September 2016 that the company was banning Zahren from the property after two female employees filed complaints against him.

According the board, Hands in Harmony let Zahren go in September 2016, shortly after the complaint from General Mills. Zahren began working again at Hands in Harmony in February or March 2018, according to board documents.

Zahren has not been charged by law enforcement.

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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